Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Growling and kisses..oh my!

Zeri had a rough week last week. He has been displaying typical 16 month old boy behavior...hitting, throwing tantrums, grunting/growling (not sure if that's normal-ha!:)), and crying all the time. My boy wants to be outside nonstop! If I don't take him out he will throw himself on the floor and cry. When someone comes over or leaves he cries and throws fits. He just likes to be out and about.

Over the weekend Jeremiah and I realized that Zeri doesn't cry or throw as many tantrums when Jeremiah is around. Zeri is happy when it's just Jeremiah and the kids. When I walk in he starts crying and throwing fits. I don't give in to him (I know that's what you were thinking!:)), but I think he displays this behavior because I'm the one he has really attached to and meets most of his needs. Jeremiah is an amazing daddy, but I'm the one who is home with him all day right now. So, that's why I'm meeting most of his needs.

Even though we had a rough week last week I am so thankful that I'm off with my kids! I had the most special moment with Zeri today! I was crawling after him  and we both stopped in the hallway. I looked at him and said a few times, "I love you sweet boy." Then he crawled over to me, got down in my face, and planted a HUGE kiss on my lips. He got up and smiled at me. This makes all of the hard times worth it. As an adoptive mom this moment is one I will never forget. I spent many days thinking about when my son would attach to me and this kiss showed me how much our relationship has grown over the past many weeks. I'm thankful that Zeri feels attached to me and that he feels comfortable lovin' on his mommy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rejoicing in God's perfect timing

So yesterday was a tough day. The kind of day that you could go to bed crying or just go to bed laughing at the craziness that happened throughout the day. I decided to go to bed laughing because I knew that today was a new day and it would be better than yesterday.

 Today I woke up to Zeri talking in his crib (this never happens..he usually wakes up screaming!) and it put a smile on my face. Have you ever had one of those moments that you wish you could freeze in your mind forever? That is what my morning was like today. We didn't do anything extremely fun today or ever leave our block, but that is what made my morning so wonderful.

 I kept looking at my kids and just rejoicing in the fact that they are mine. I am one lucky lady to get to spend my life with these two kids (and my amazing hubs!). We played outside today and then went on a walk. I pushed Zeri in his car and Olivia walked next to me. While we were walking Zeri reached out to grab Olivia's hand. She smiled, took his hand, and walked a little closer to him. We walked around the block like this while I was trying to hold back my tears. When we got home I squirted them with the hose and then they played for a bit in the water. You should have heard the laughter coming out of their mouths-priceless. Zeri kept clinging to Olivia and cracking up when the water would hit his face. When we got back inside my kids sat at the table while I made lunch. They were making each other laugh by doing silly faces and again I tried to hold back my tears.

Just a little over a month ago Zerihun was just a face in a picture to Olivia and now he is her playmate, her friend, and the person who makes her laugh more than anyone else in the world. When she is sad, he comes over to her, gets in her face and babbles, and does something silly to make her laugh. He wants his sister to feel better. When Zerihun cries, Olivia pats his back and hugs him. Olivia wakes up and the first thing she says is, "Is Zeri up? I want to see him!" She runs out and wraps her arms around him. He squeals with delight and gives her a hug.

If we didn't follow God's call to adopt, then these two would not be together. Throughout our adoption there were days when I asked God why it was taking so long for us to be matched with our child. I cried and prayed that God would bless us with the perfect child for our family. Olivia asked God to give her a brother who was funny. We waited so long for Zeri and it's so amazing to see that God took care of us. HE knew the entire time that Zerihun was our child and brother. As I looked at my kids (and for the 3rd time!) and tried to hold back tears, I just silently thanked God for taking care of us. God was probably laughing at me every time I came to him crying because he knew just how perfect Zerihun would be for our family. HE knew that I needed to wait on HIM and not try to control things. HE knew that Olivia needed to grow up a bit so that she could enjoy being the big sister and accept Zerihun into our family. God knew that we needed Zeri in our family just as much as he needed us to be his family.

 So, I might go to bed crying tonight. Only tonight it's not because of a stressful day, it's because my heart is so full of happiness and joy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A much needed update!

It's been awhile. I know you are all just waiting by your computer for me to update my blog (ha!), so here goes a quick update.
Our happy little boy!

The plane ride went way better than we expected. Zerihun was happy as long as he was on me. I absolutely love holding Zeri (and waited oh so long to hold him!!) but holding him for over 13 hours on the flight home was a little too much. He slept off and on in his bassinet (we were able to get bulkhead seats!!) but literally clung to me for the remainder of the trip (which we calculated was over 13 hours). I couldn't even go to the bathroom or stretch my legs without him crying. But..we were just thanking God that he didn't scream or throw fits on the plane. As long as he held on to his mommy, he was a happy boy.

This could possibly be the happiest moment of my life. We had both of our babies in our arms!!!

Our first week home was rough..just like having a newborn. He woke up at least 4-5 times a night screaming and many nights we couldn't get him back to sleep for hours. I remember us both being up with him from 1-3:30a.m. multiple nights. There were days when he wouldn't take naps and he would be up from 6:00a.m.-7:00p.m. straight and then wake up again at 10:30p.m. He wouldn't let Jeremiah hold him or really touch him without crying. Therefore, I was the only person who could meet his needs. Jeremiah did everything he could to help out, but Zeri only wanted me. Every night we had to rub his back, sing to him, or rub his face for hours to get him to go to sleep. Also, Zerihun came home with Giardia. It's a stomach sickness that many kids from Ethiopia come home with and it's basically just horrible diarrhea multiple (and I mean multiple!!) times a day. Zerihun has been on medicine since we brought him home, but he still has it. We are praying it goes away soon. Anyway, we were pretty out of it the first week home. Having two kids is way different than having just one 4 year old!:) Olivia was incredible. She is such a sweet big sister!

My parents had planned a vacation for our entire family to celebrate my mom's retirement. They had this vacation planned for about 2 years and we felt bad telling them we couldn't go. Plus, we thought it would be nice for Olivia to receive extra attention. We went back and forth about what to do and decided to just go for it. Zeri wasn't on a great schedule, so we went to Hilton Head with my fam. This was our second week with Zeri. I know some people are thinking we are crazy for taking him on vacation, but it was fine. It was nice for Olivia to feel special and have many people pay attention to her. Zeri received many shots right before left for HH. Our first day there we noticed tons of bumps on him so we took him to Urgent Care. The doctor said that she thinks he had some sort of reaction to the chicken pox vaccine and that he was fine-phew! I was extremely nervous that he brought home a disease and that Olivia (or another family member) would get it.

Playing with his aunts and loving life!
 Zeri woke up at all hours of the night on vacation. The last two nights there we decided to let him cry it out and the last night there he slept through the night. When Olivia was little we were fine with letting her cry it out because we knew she needed it. All the books/articles we've read on adoption say not to let your child cry it out because they'll think you are abandoning him/her. It's so hard to know what is right for our child. Zeri loved being around my family. They were so wonderful because they knew they couldn't hold him, feed him, love on him (or meet any of his needs), but they played with him. It was nice because Olivia was able to be out on the beach with my family while we were inside with Zeri. One afternoon Jeremiah stayed inside during Zeri's nap while I played on the beach with Olivia. It was amazing! It was nice to get out of our house and just relax on the beach. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely stressful times. But..we were in a huge beach house, with my wonderful family, and we had our son home! The really stressful part of the trip was the flight home. Our flight was supposed to leave around 5pm on Saturday evening from Savannah, Georgia. It ended up being delayed until 9:00pm and then we missed our second flight to Peoria. Luckily, Delta gave us a free hotel stay. We got to our hotel about midnight and had to be back at the airport at 5:30a.m. Sunday. Our poor kids were so tired! Overall, it was a fabulous vacation and I'm so thankful for my parents who put so much time, energy, and money into the trip!

Bike ride while in Hilton Head...Zeri was not excited about this.
On Sunday we were happy to be home. It's been nice getting into a new routine and things have been going really well! We are letting Zerihun sleep in his pack n' play in our room (this is where he slept when he came home and we didn't want to change his room again!) and we are actually sleeping in the living room. We realized that Zerihun wakes up to us being in his room. I KNOW that all the adoption books say to sleep in the same room as your child, but it just wasn't working. Zerihun has slept through the night every single night since we've been home!!!:) He has been going to bed around 7:00ish and sleeps until 6:00 or 7:00!! Woohoo!! We feel like different people!:) Nap time is still a little off. Sometimes he takes really great naps and other times he wakes up after 30 minutes. I've been letting him cry it out and he usually goes back to sleep for a bit. As long as he's sleeping through the night I am a happy mommy!

Zerihun is SUCH an amazing child! He is super chill (most of the time), happy, hilarious, and loves to snuggle with me. I have tears in my eyes as I type this because I just feel so blessed. He was meant to be our child. There are people out there who have asked me, "Do you think you'll love him as much as Olivia?" and hands down my answer is yes. I love this child more than words can describe. It's amazing to think that if we didn't follow God's call then we wouldn't be the parents of this incredible boy. This little boy who yearns for love, who makes silly faces like his daddy, who sings with his sister, and who is the perfect addition to our family. It's obvious that our Zeri has anxiety about being left. He never wants me to be out of his site. He will be playing, look at me, and crawl over to me just to lay on me. This happens frequently throughout the day. If I leave the room he starts crying. If I hug his sister or his daddy, he starts crying. I'm so thankful that he's attached to me. I'm thankful that he trust me enough to let me in and to let me love him. He is desperate for a consistent person to meet his needs, a person who will love him forever, and a family. I cry every time I think about the happiness that radiates from his little face when he sees his sister. It's so neat to see the bond that has already formed between them. Also, Zeri has started throwing some temper tantrums this week. It's usually after we come inside because he wants to stay outside or because I won't let him go into the kitchen. He loves food and could eat all day long. I'm trying to help him understand that he can't eat all day long!:) Temper tantrums are normal for this age, so I'm also just trying to help him work through these tantrums without making him feel abandoned or that I don't care about him.

I could go on and on about how much we just love our Zeri. Please know that things are not perfect, there are definitely stressful times still, and that it will still be awhile before we feel normal. However, God has blessed us beyond words. We can't imagine our life without Zerihun and it's just been 3 weeks.

While we do feel that Zerihun has attached to us, we are still working to improve the attachment. Zerihun still needs to know that we are his family and that we are the only ones that will meet his needs. Therefore, we are not letting anyone hold him, feed him, or snuggle with him for awhile. I know this is not normal and we are just thankful that you understand. He's had so many caregivers throughout his life and he needs to understand that Jeremiah and I are here forever. We aren't leaving him and that we will meet his needs. Thank you for your support and we promise there will be a time when you can hold our precious boy!

Big sissy said to me today, "Mommy I am so happy." I asked her why and she said, "I am so happy that Zerihun is home with us."

Olivia makes Zeri laugh like no other.
 *Thank you to everyone who has made food for us the past few weeks. Even though Zeri is not a newborn, bringing him home has definitely made life a little more hectic:) It's nice to not worry about cooking right now!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Embassy and the second day with our son

Jeremiah and I feel so blessed to be both Olivia and Zeri's parents. We miss our Olivia like crazy, but we are thankful for this special time with Zeri.
 Jeremiah and I are having a tough time sleeping at night (wild dogs barking, Muslim chanting throughout the night on the loud speakers, people screaming at all hours, and just the normal traffic noise outside). Luckily, Zeri did not have a tough time sleeping last night because he is used to the noise. Zeri slept from 7:30pm-7:30am! Jeremiah and I were laughing because we woke up way before he did and we were just waiting for him to get up.
 When he woke up he didn't know where he was and we think he forgot who we were. He started whimpering and it was sad to see him so scared. We fed him a bottle and then he was his happy self. Throughout the morning we played, read books, and hung out until 9:30 and then we put him down for a nap. He went right down without crying. Around 11:30 we woke hi up, fed him lunch, and then our driver picked us up to attend our Embassy appointment.
 There was a long line at the Embassy but they let us cut because we had a baby. We went through security and then waited for our names to be called. Zeri just snuggled with me the entire time. He watched everyone and was just super chill. Our appointment was at 1:00 and we were called up around then. Normally you are asked many questions, but they just asked us one and then told us we we were done. Whew!
 After the appointment we went back to the guest house, had lunch, nd then Zeri took another nap from 2-4. We had to wake him up again from his nap. He is definitely a Cox because he loves naps like we do-ha.
 When Zeri woke up we played with his little friend Bereket and his family in our room. Zeri was totally showing off for the other family. Zeri likes to make us laugh. He scrunched up his face and makes this adorable funny face when he knows he is being cute or silly.
  After Bereket's family left we ordered up spaghetti for Zeri and a small pizza for us to share. Zeri chewed down on the spaghetti. Once we were done with dinner we gave Zeri a bath, read some books, and then fed him a bottle. He started crying when we put him down for the night so I held him for a few minutes. Then we put him down and I sang him a song. Our sweet boy fell asleep within 5 min.
We had an absolutely wonderful day today! I forgot to say that Zeri started calling Jeremiah "Dada." When Jeremiah walked out of the room Zeri would look for him and say "Dada." When Jeremiah walked back in Zeri would look at him and sayit again. Precious!!
Tomorrow we are having lunch with our sponsor family (she asked if she could come have lunch with us and meet Zeri and we couldn't tell he pr no). Then we are hanging out at the guest house until about 6pm. Our flight leaves Addis around 10:00pm tomorrow night. We can't wait to be home!!!!
Please pray for a few things....
-Jeremiah and Zeri both have stomach issues. Z had really bad issues all day long.
-We requested bulkhead seats on the plane which means that we would get extra room plus a bed for Zeri to sleep in on the 17 hour flight home. We called today and they said we,don't have a bulkhead for the flight home. Ugh. We even paid a bit extra to get this seat for Zeri. We only bout a lap ticket so he doesn't have his own seat. This could be a super long flight. Please pray that we can get a bulkheads seat tomorrow.

Have great night!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gotcha Day!

Jeremiah and I arrived in Addis on Tuesday and spent most of the day with our sponsor family. It was nice to see our friends again. I will post more about that visit another day. 

Today we woke up excited, but extremely nervous about the day. When we saw Zeri in April he cried most of the time we were with him. We were prepared for him to do the same thing today. Honestly, we had the lowest expectations possible based on our visit last time. Jeremiah and I hung out at our guest house all morning and then around 11:45 our driver picked us up to take us to the Thomas Center. We thought we were just going to meet with the doctor to Ali about Zeri's health. When we walked in the head nurse brought down 2 bouquets of flowers for Erika (mom from Indy) and me. Then a few of the other nurses walked down the stairs chanting and clapping while holding our boys (the boys were wearing matching outfits!). Zeri started crying immediately, but little Bereket did not. The nurse handed Z off to me and he screamed for about 20 min. But....then he stopped!!! He grabbed ahold of me tightly and just snuggled up with me. It's was definitely an answer to my prayers. I held him for about an hour and then they came to get us for the doctor visit. The docot said that Z is perfect and the nannies said that Z is hilarious and loves to joke around. After the visit we took him into his room for a nap.
Erika, Kirk, Jeremiah, and I went went out to lunch and then we went back to the Thomas Center for their goodbye party. The nurses brought Z down and he cried for a few minutes. Then the older kids came in dressed in their traditional Ethiopian clothing and they started singing sings for us. They sang for about 30 minutes and then Abdissa (pastor) came in and gave a brief message to all of us. Gather that we were given coffee and some treats. We ate and the older kids sang a few more songs. Then Abdissa ave us a traditional outfit for Zeri and just thanked us for allowing Zeri to be a part of our family. 
 During the coffee ceremony Zeri sniffles and cried off and on, but eventually he just laid his head on my shoulder and almost fell asleep.  Jeremiah and I went up with a nanny to change Z's diaper and then she handed him back to me. HE DID NOT CRY!!! Yay! This was huge! When we returned he was calm for the rest of the ceromony! 
 When we left the Thomas Center it was very e optional for the nannies and us. They kept kissing Zeri and hugging him. Some of them had tears in their eyes. They truly loved our little boy and he loved them. I forgot to add that during the ceremony Abdissa gave us a time to talk and we were able to talk to the nannies and tell them how wonderful they are and how much we appreciate them. 
As we drove back to the guest house Zeri just looked around and he even tried to grab some of the cars. Zeri ended up falling asleep on me and it was heavenly.
When we got back to the guest house we gave Z his first bath and he loved it. Then we fed him dinner, played for a few minutes, and then we gave him a bottle. We also had a poopy diaper that got all over his pj's and our blaket....but that was the worst thing that happened today, so we are good. Jeremiah sang Zeri a song and then we laid Z down for bed. He went right to sleep. What a good boy!!! 
We love our little boy so incredibly much! Please pray that our trip continues to go smoothly and that tomorrow he will be just as calm! 

Also, we were able to FaceTime Olivia and it made us cry to see her reaction to Zeri!,, she had th biggest grin on her face. We miss our sweet girl! She's having a great time with her Gee gee's house.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Olivia's first dance recital

  This past weekend we had Olivia's first dance recital. She had a rehearsal on Friday night and two performances on Saturday. Olivia can be very shy, but she absolutely loved being on stage. Seriously..she kept asking if she could go on again. They turned the lights off when they little girls walked out on stage and when the lights turned on Olivia had a huge grin on her face. It didn't go away the entire time she performed. While we watched the other performances Olivia stood up, danced, and clapped. We left after her performance, but she begged me to watch the rest of the dances. My parents and sisters came to the Saturday evening performance. It was so neat to watch Olivia up on stage because I used to dance when I was younger.

Tara was Olivia's dance teacher. I coached Tara's cheerleading squad when I first started teaching in Mahomet. 

Brooklyn and Olivia

We love our girl!

She was trying so hard to make me laugh with her funny expressions-it worked!

Olivia's first dance class

Olivia, Aunt Kacy, Mimi, Bapa, and Aunt Kelsy

Still waiting...

   When we were first submitted to Embassy I thought it would be 2-3 weeks before were given clearance. After talking with our case worker she said it could go really quickly and that it could be only a week before they cleared us. Therefore, I've been checking my e-mail throughout the night and just waiting for "The E-mail!" When it hits 8:00a.m. then I realize that my wait is over for the day (because Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us) and then I start the anticipation all over again when I go to bed that evening.

   I know..it's so silly. Before I started this process I would probably think someone acting like me was crazy. I'm pretty sure Jeremiah thinks that.:) It really is like I'm 9 months pregnant and just waiting for labor to start. I feel the exact same way I did when I was pregnant with Olivia. You always wonder when it will happen and if you will be ready for it to happen. I'm so ready. Well, okay I still have a ton to do to prepare our home for Zeri's arrival. But, I would hop on the plane tomorrow (if I could) to pick him up. My heart is just not complete without him being here with us.

 On another note, I think my son will have more hair products and brushes then I'll ever have. I've been researching (thanks Jennifer, Brandy, and Jessi for your input!!) by talking to adoptive moms, reading numerous blogs, and researching online for the best hair products and brushes to use on Zeri's adorable curls. I still have two more products to purchase and then I'll be good to go.

  Please just pray for our case. Pray that the Embassy can get ahold of the police officer right away and that they can clear our case the same day. Please pray that airline tickets are available the day we need to leave for Ethiopia. I've been looking at airline tickets and they are SUPER expensive right now. Last time we spent around $3,000 on tickets and this time it will be at least $8,000! AH! I tried looking into other airlines and those were more expensive and one even quoted me $15,000 for our tickets. No thanks! So please just pray that it all works out!

 Even though I am a crazy woman during the night, I feel extremely blessed to have this time off with Olivia. When I told her that we were starting our "Mommy-Livi Days" this week she started dancing around the house chanting, "Mommy-Livi Days-yay!!" We've had 2 special dates this week and I just treasure this one-on-one time I have with her. I'm trying to stay home or hang out with just Olivia as much as possible because I know these Mommy-Livi days are coming to an end soon.
 We just know that God has the perfect time for us to bring Zeri home. Now that I'm done with school it's hard to wait, but I know it will be perfect because God is in control.

 I was talking to one of my friends about Zeri's room last week. On Sunday she asked me to come out to her car because she had a surprise for me. Below is what was in her car and when she handed it to me, I just started crying. Thank you Brynn for this awesome wall decoration for Zeri's room! We are SO very blessed to have MANY fabulous friends who have supported us along this journey! :)

Yesterday we received a new picture of Zeri. He is growing up so fast! He needs to come home now!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Requested info. was sent!

Yesterday the Embassy requested the phone number of the police officer who found Zeri. Our Ethiopia rep. sent his number to the Embassy today. The Embassy just needs to get ahold of the police officer and talk to him about when/where he found Zeri. If all of that goes smoothly then they should clear our case!

*Please pray that the Embassy can get ahold of the police officer quickly and the phone interview doesn't reveal any red flags.
*Please pray for our family. I read a blog post the other day and a mom talked about how this part in the adoption process is like being 9 months pregnant and ready to go into labor any second. We could get clearance on Monday (unlikely) or it could be months. You just never know and it's really tough to be patient/not stressed out! We can hop on a plane right after we receive clearance!!!!
*Please pray for our little Zerihun. He is going to leave the place he has known for many months and the nannies he loves. Please pray that he can attach to us and realize how much we love him.
*Please pray for Olivia. She is excited about Zerihun coming home, but I know (just like any older sibling) it will be a big transition to have a little brother in our house.

Thanks for your support! Hopefully the next time I blog it will be to announce our Embassy Clearance. This is THE LAST step before bringing Zeri home!!!:)

*Zerihun David Cox-you are worth the wait. Daddy, mommy, and Olivia can not wait to receive the e-mail saying that we have cleared Embassy. We've been waiting for this day for over 2 years and it's almost here! Yippee! We love you sweet boy!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

3rd e-mail from the Embassy

Yesterday we received a second e-mail saying that the first step in the Embassy process was complete. Today we received our third e-mail asking for a little more information from our agency. We get the e-mails in the early morning hours, so I am constantly waking up to check my e-mail throughout the night! We are praying that very soon we wake up to see that we have been cleared and can bring Zeri home! Can you pray this with me please?

I hope to post the last couple of days of our 1st trip to Ethiopia (yah..probably should do that before our 2nd trip, huh!?:)). Here are a few pics. to hold you over until I can post about our last few days.

This is what we saw when we looked out our Guest House window.

Another view from our Guest House.

Meeting our sweet Z for the first time!!

He doesn't know what to think of us!:)

Daddy holding Zeri for the first time.

Bless his sweet little heart!

We love you so much Zerihun David Cox!!!

I told you that I kissed his face quite a bit while we were there!

This is one of Z's nannies and he absolutely adores her! 

On another note...our little Livi girl is finished with her first year of pre-school! I was able to attend her end-of-the-year party and it was fabulous!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


We were submitted to Embassy early this morning in Ethiopia!! Praise God! Play join with us and pray that the investigation goes smoothly and that there are no delays in our case. Please pray that they (people doing the investigation-don't know what they are called!:)) can get ahold of the police officer right away and they can confirm that Zeri is an orphan.
 If all goes smoothly, we could possible bring him home in just 2 or 3 weeks!!!! But..I know that sometimes it takes much longer than this. Pray that our little buddy comes home very soon!
 Today is my last day of school and I would love nothing more than to hop on the plane today to bring Zeri home forever!!!!!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Embassy submission on Tuesday (we hope!)!!

Please join us in prayer this weekend! We are supposed to be submitted to Embassy on Tuesday!!!!!! Our agency can only submit paperwork between 11:00a.m.-11:30a.m. on Tuesday mornings. I'm nervous that all of the paperwork won't be ready to be submitted by then (their part, not our part). Our case worker said it should take about 2-3 weeks for our case to clear and then we can bring sweet Zeri home!

Please pray that Zeri's medical evals go smoothly and that all the paperwork comes together by Tuesday morning before 11:00a.m.:) We are so excited to think that we could possibly bring Zeri home in June!

Thank you for supporting us and praying for our little buddy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

2nd visit with Zeri-Ethiopia Trip Part #3

On Saturday morning we woke up early and headed to the Thomas Center around 9:45a.m. They brought Zeri down to us. The head nurse wasn't there and the nurse this day didn't speak great English. As soon as she handed Zeri to us he lost it. We tried calming him down but nothing worked. Two nannies came and comforted him and he was fine. Then they got him up and walked him around. He was fine until they had Jeremiah walk him around. Bless his heart...he hated it. Jeremiah is an AMAZING and calm Daddy. I picked Zeri up and we took him outside. We showed him around the yard. We were able to get him to calm down for about 2 minutes and then the crying began again. Jeremiah took him and walked him around. Jeremiah was singing to our boy and our Zeri didn't stop crying. Jeremiah was so patient. They had Jer feed him a bottle, but Z didn't want it. He was just so scared. I had been asking the nurse if we could go upstairs because he was comfortable up there the day before. She couldn't really understand me. Finally, after literally an hour of crying I basically told her we had to go upstairs.

They put a mat down and little Z just kept crying. The nurse brought in a bottle and I gave it to him. I rocked him in my arms, sang him the same song I used to sing to Livi, and fed him. He fell asleep drinking his bottle. When he woke up he looked at me and smiled. He was a TOTALLY different child! He was fine!!!!! He let me cuddle him and just love all over him. I just kept praising God!!! As I'm typing this now, I have tears in my eyes as I remember how joyful this moment was for Jeremiah and me.

I held on to Zeri for a bit, hugged him, played with his little curls, and kissed all over him. He was just content being with his mommy. Then I put him on the ground and we just played for over an hour with him. It was perfect. We made him laugh and smile numerous times. He loved watching Daddy stack balls and act goofy. He tried to imitate Jer stacking and even put the ball on his head like Jer did. Zeri let me lay next to him and just his side while he played. I also made him laugh when I blew on his belly and tickled him.

Jeremiah showed Zeri the video of Olivia talking to him. Zeri smiles, tried to talk a bit, and waved his arms up and down with excitement. He already loves his sister! We had THE BEST TIME with Zeri this day. We both were just loving on Zeri and could not stop smiling. Zeri warmed up to us and it was then that we knew everything would be okay. We heard Zeri babble, laugh, and try to communicate with others. He was just a doll. I can't describe how adorable he is and we are just so thankful that we get to be his parents!!!

Our hearts were full as we left that day. We DID NOT want to leave our boy and especially didn't want to leave because he was sooooo happy. He crawled after us and sat up on his mat while we packed up. We gave him lots of kisses and then said goodbye. We had an amazing hour with our boy and felt hope that he will gro to love us. I can't describe how much love we felt when we made Zeri laugh and he wanted to be near us. We left his room with huge smiles on our faces.

Then we went downstairs and played with the older kids. They craved our attention. We played soccer and basketball with him. Around 12:30 they went inside to eat and we followed them. A sweet little boy was refusing to eat and just stood up at his seat. The nanny said that the little boy was refusing to eat because he wanted to play soccer with me. Sweet little kid!! We left because we wanted them to eat.

We went back to the Guest House and then went to a yummy restaurant called Antica. Jeremiah woke up feeling pretty crummy and had awful stomach issues this day. He was a trooper and still went out to lunch with me. We saw outside and just enjoyed the perfect weather.

After lunch we went to Trinity Church and took a tour. Our tour guide was pumped to show us this church and again, it was nice to learn about the Ethiopian culture. After that we visited the Sole Rebel store.

We drove through different parts of the city and then just went back to our Guest House. It was a long, but amazing day visiting our Z and seeing the city.

The Day We Met Zeri--Ethiopia Trip Part #2!

As you saw in my last post, we woke up bright and early the morning of April 19. We were so pumped to meet our little Zeri! The driver came to pick us up at 9:20a.m. and we headed over to the Thomas Center. As we pulled in we saw the nurse come out to greet us. She told us, "You are Zerihun's parents. I have seen your picture many times. He is one lucky boy." I immediately started tearing up. Before we went inside we asked Daniel to take video and the driver to take our pictures.

The nurse told us to follow her and we walked up two flights of stairs into one of the baby rooms. As we walked in we saw our sweet little Zerihun. He was standing up in his crib and all we wanted to do was rush over to him, pick him up, and just hug him forever. We both knew that we couldn't do that. We both were crying because THERE HE WAS! It was like a dream come true to actually see him in person. We slowly walked over to him and he just looked confused. Zeri was just fine in his crib when we were smiling at him. Then the nurse picked him up and handed him off to Jeremiah. Zeri looked at Jeremiah and immediately started crying. We felt so bad for our little Zeri! 

The nurse took him and he calmed down. He just kept looking at us like, "Who are you people? Why are you here?" They fed Zeri and Jeremiah and I talked with all of the other babies. There were many cribs in Zeri's room and throughout the time we were there many of the babies cried. Jeremiah and I would put our hands on their tummies or just stand over their cribs and they would stop crying. These little kids just needed attention. *Sidenote--the nannies are absolutely wonderful! They are doing an amazing job taking care of these little ones! They just can't pick up all of the babies at one time. We are beyond grateful for their love for Zeri!*

After they fed Zeri the nurse picked him up and told us to follow her downstairs. We went down to this carpeted room that had huge windows overlooking the entrance area. The nurse put Zeri down on the ground and more tears were shed. Then she gave him a ball and he played ball with us on the ground for a bit. He even let me kiss his face. The moment we tried to hold him he burst into tears. It was heartbreaking. We knew he would be scared and we knew it would not go smoothly. However, we weren't prepared to feel so helpless. There was nothing we could say or do to comfort Zeri. The nurse left us alone for a bit so that we could have alone time with Zeri. He just sat there and cried. He was terrified..bless his sweet heart. The nurse came back and took us upstairs into his room. She put a mat down on the floor and handed him some toys to play with on the mat. Then Jeremiah fed him a bottle. He let Jeremiah feed him a bottle, but then he cried when he was finished. Finally, the nurses calmed him down and we played with him on the floor. We were able to get one or two smiles out of him, but it was obvious that he didn't really want us near him. He would purposely scoot away from us. 

One of his nannies tickled him and she made him crack up. He likes to rough house. Zeri wouldn't let us hold him without crying this terrifying cry. We tried to console him but no success. It was fun to watch him play by himself. The nurse said that Zeri is usually a happy, chilled out baby who likes to play in his crib. She said that he sleeps from 7p.m.-6a.m. with a bottle at 4:00a.m. The nurse said that we are lucky because Zeri is a special baby. We did get to see Zeri's personality when he was playing with his nanny. It's clear that Zeri has a special bond with this specific nanny. She knew exactly what to do to comfort our boy. 

About an hour into our visit we saw another American couple come into the room. They were there to see Zeri's "best friend", B. B and Zeri came from their previous orphanage together and have been in the same room since December. The nurse said they are best friends. B's family lives in Indy!! What a blessing. We will be able to get our little boys together! One thing that calmed Zeri down was when B's family came into the room and they held B. These parents had been there for 4 days and this was their last day visiting B. I think it showed Zeri that it was okay to be around us because B was with other people too. 

We had to leave at noon. Zeri was about to take a nap, so we told him we would be back the next day. We went downstairs with the nurse and gave her the donations we brought. Her eyes filled with tears as she told us how much she appreciated us bringing all of the supplies. 

While we loved meeting our son, it was also an incredibly stressful experience. There are NO words to describe the feeling parents et when we see our children for the first time. As parents we want to be able to comfort and console our children at all times. It was just so sad for us to see our little Z so scared and worked up. It's obvious that the nannies and nurse absolutely adore Zeri. He loves them too. His little face just lit up when he saw his special nanny or the head nurse. 

After we left we went back to our hotel to rest for a bit and then we went to a restaurant called Lime Tree. It was good. Then we went to the Post Office shop area. We bought a few things for Zeri and Olivia. Then we went to the Sheraton Hotel. We walked around with Daniel and then we went back to our hotel. This hotel was beautiful, but it also made me sick to my stomach to be there. This hotel was probably the nicest hotel I'd ever been to, but then right outside there were people living in stick houses.   It was an odd feeling being there.

Later that night we went to Habesha 2000, a traditional Ethiopian Restaurant. We ate injera and other Ethiopian foods. Then we watched fabulous traditional dancers. We went back to our Guest House and were just exhausted. Throughout the night we heard loud speakers shouting Muslim chants from the nearby Mosque. That night we could barely sleep again, but we woke up excited to see Zeri again. 

Ethiopia Trip Part #1

I have been SO busy since we returned from Ethiopia. Two weddings to prepare for (and my sister's is in just two weeks!), three showers to plan, a bachelorette party to plan, school projects to grade, my mom's retiring, and we had a bit of paperwork to do for our adoption. Most of these things are taking place in less than three weeks. Whew! It's been crazy around here. I thought I would take a few minutes to write about our trip...otherwise, I will never do it.

On our way home from Ethiopia I spent about an hour writing down exactly what we did in Ethiopia for Zeri. I knew I would forget bits and pieces if I didn't write it down on the plane. I'm going to break this down into a couple of parts because it's too much to write in one post. Happy reading!:)

On Tuesday, April 16 Jeremiah and I went to work like normal. That night my parents came over, ate dinner with us, and then took Olivia to their house. Jeremiah and I rarely leave Olivia. We just love being with her and it was very hard telling her goodbye! We knew that she was in good hands, but we also knew how much we would miss her. After they left, we finished packing our bags and we headed to Indy. We could barely sleep this night! We woke up at 3:15a.m. and left for the airport at 3:45a.m. Jeremiah checked himself in, but we had problems checking me in. For some reason they did not have a ticket for me! You know me...I stress way too easily, so I just started praying right away. Jeremiah confessed later that he was pretty nervous too. It took the United workers over an hour to find my ticket! They finally found issued me a ticket and told us to check in right away when we got to Washington D.C. The workers told us they were *pretty sure* Ethiopian airlines would have a ticket for me. We just prayed again that everything would go smoothly and it did!

Before we packed our bags for this trip we bought special carry-on bags. We measured our bags to make sure they were the correct dimensions because we heard that sometimes Ethiopian airlines misplaces bags during flights. So, Jeremiah and I both packed every piece of our clothing for the trip in our carry-on bags. We also took 3 suit cases full of donations and we each took a small bag for items we wanted to use on the plane. After we checked in (and finally got my ticket) the clerk said that our bags were a little too big for carry-on. The lady told us she would let us slide this time because of what we just went through-whew!

By the time Jeremiah and I entered the waiting area we only had about a 1/2 hour before we boarded the plane. This is when reality set in that we were actually going to Ethiopia to meet our baby boy!! Jeremiah and I left Indy around 6:00a.m. and landed in Washington D.C. around 8:00 a.m. We immediately went to Ethiopian airlines to check in (and there were already at least 20 people in line ahead of us!) and thankfully they had a ticket for me. But...when we got to the desk we saw they were weighing the carry-on bags and I just knew they were going to take our bags. We got up to the desk and they weighed my bag and it was fine!! It was one pound over, but they told me it was fine. Jeremiah's was about three pounds over so they told him to check it. We quickly transferred Jeremiah's cameras, lenses, and a few other things over to my bag, checked his bag, and prayed that we would see it in Africa.

We had a nice time just hanging out at the airport and then boarded the plane for Ethiopia around 11:00a.m. We left at 11:30a.m. and the flight was fine. Jeremiah and I ended up moving up to seats that had quite a big of leg room and it was much nicer than our other seats. The flight was about 13 1/2 hours and it seemed like it was longer  (the flight home actually went much faster to us!). I think the anticipation made it seem longer. As we flew into Ethiopia I started to become antsy. I kept telling Jeremiah, "Oh my gosh..we are in the SAME city as our boy!!!" It was seriously like a dream.

When we landed in Ethiopia is was Thursday morning in Ethiopia. After we went through Customs, we converted our money to Birr and then got our bags. We went to find our driver and we couldn't find him. Finally, after about 30 minutes of looking for him we saw a van drive by and they asked us if we were from CHI. They were our drivers. The entire time we were there we had the same guide named Daniel. He was AMAZING and really took care of us (way beyond what we thought he would do!).

As we drove through Addis we just took in the sights. I love to people watch and it was fun for me to watch everyone as we drove through the city. It only took about 20 minutes and we were at our Guest House. We stayed at the Addis Guest House. The Guest House owner lived in America for over 15 years and he was just wonderful. They took such great care of us and we look forward to staying there again!

After settling in to our room we told our tour guide that we wanted to go to Mt. Entoto. We saw some breathtaking views of the city as we made our way up to Mt. Entoto. Here we visited an Orthodox Church and the Emperor's house. We also went to a museum. It was interesting to learn a little about Ethiopia's culture. When we were finished our driver took us to the bottom of the mountain so that we could shop a little. To be honest, this was a very stressful situation for me. I've been to Mexico and bartered with people. This was different. The people in the shops were extremely helpful, but then there were people from the streets trying to sell us items as well. I told Daniel that we needed to leave. As we left people kept asking us for money and they were literally holding on to our van as we drove away.

Then we went to a place called Avanti for lunch. Daniel had lunch with us and it was fabulous time. We asked Daniel questions about Ethiopia and all of our food was delicious. We left there and went back to our room. We really wanted to Facetime Olivia and it was good for this mommy's heart to see her sweet little face.

About an hour later, we were just exhausted. We knew if we went to bed at 4:30p.m. we would wake up super early the next morning. So, we decided to call our driver and ask him to take us to a little shop.   We went to this shop called Salem's and it was really neat. There was a group of American people from North Carolina there. They were beyond thrilled when they asked us why we were there and we told them we were adopting. It was just what we needed that day. We picked up a few baskets and some linens from this shop. We saw the workers weaving the baskets and it was just a cool experience.

We ended up going back to the Guest House about 6:00p.m. and we tried to go to sleep around 7:30p.m. We wanted to be rested to meet our son the next day. We both ended up waking up around 1:00a.m. and we couldn't go back to sleep. The time change and altitude difference really messed with us! But..we were running on adrenaline and we didn't care. We couldn't stop smiling because today was the day we were going to meet Zeri!!!!!!!!!!! We could not believe it!!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A special moment

I have so much to write about..our trip, meeting Zeri, seeing our YWAM family, and reuniting with Olivia. However, I just don't have the time to write about it right now. Hopefully I will find time soon!

Please pray for our next step in our adoption journey. We just had a bunch of documents signed, notarized, and sent off over the weekend. We are praying that we bring Zeri home in 6 weeks and not 2-4 months. We want our little boy home with us!

I can't end a post without a picture of our little Z! He is definitely a Cox and I can't wait to tell you more about meeting him! When we were in Ethiopia I kissed all over that sweet little face! :) I couldn't stop kissing his face-seriously! We had waited so long to kiss him and I just couldn't stop!

Zeri was pretty scared of us. Every day he ended up warming up to us (after an hour of crying!), but then he was scared of us again the next day. The last day I was holding him and he was crying (like a "Why is this lady holding me!? I'm terrified of her!" cry). I started telling him how much we love him. I told Zeri over and over that we love him more than he'll ever know and that we have been praying for him for over 2 years. I told him that I know it's scary and that I know he'll learn to love us. I told him that we won't stop loving him and that it doesn't matter how much he cries, we'll never give up on him. It was a moment that I will remember forever. My words didn't make him stop crying (and nothing did..except for his bottle) but I was so overwhelmed with love for my little boy. My little Z was just looking at me with tears streaming down his face and I had tears in my eyes as I was trying to comfort him. I was just smiling at him and quietly whispering these words of love to him. And as I held him so close to me and felt his curly locks against my face I realized that he is my boy. The one whom I have prayed for and fallen in love with over the past two years. It was the love that only a mommy can feel and it made me realize that I love this boy with my entire heart.

One quick Olivia story to close this post. Every time we give Olivia a kiss she wipes it off. Jeremiah and I thought she was trying to goof around and pretend like she didn't want our kisses. Tonight I asked Olivia why she wipes our kisses off and she responded, "Because I don't want anyone else to take them. I want to keep them for myself." Then I asked her where she keeps them and she said without hesitation, "In my heart." Bless her sweet little heart.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In just a couple of days....

  We will be holding our Zeri!!!!!!! Yay!!:) Oh, I just CAN NOT WAIT to kiss all over his sweet little face and just tell him how much we love him. It doesn't seem real..it feels like a dream. I can't believe we are actually meeting our Zeri.
 Jeremiah and I will be flying out of Indy on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:00a.m. and arriving in Addis on Thursday, April 18. We will meet Zeri on Friday morning! Please pray that we have a safe flight and enjoy our time in Ethiopia. We are looking forward to seeing Ethiopia and interacting with the beautiful people there.
 You know I don't like being away from Olivia. I am so anxious about leaving her for 8 days, but I know she will be in good hands.
 Olivia has been collecting money (in her shark pig bank!) for awhile. She wanted to collect money for the kids in Africa. Yesterday we let Olivia use her money to purchase coloring books and crayons for the kids. She was so excited to buy these gifts for the kids. It was precious watching her talk through why she was buying a certain coloring book for a girl or why she thought a little boy needed a pack of crayons.

Here is Olivia picking out the supplies for the kids in Africa.

 When Olivia woke up from her nap yesterday, I told her I was giving her a super special job. She was thrilled! I told Olivia that I needed her help packing up all of the donations. Side note-For my 30th birthday back in September I posted a challenge on Facebook asking people to donate items. I wanted to see if I could get 30 items donated for my 30th birthday. Well, we are taking way more than 30 items! My friends and family were so generous and we are taking 3 full suit cases with donations!

Olivia told me her job was to line the shoes up before I put them in the suit case. She was a huge help because she made sure I had matching shoes!

 We packed most of our clothes yesterday (yes, I know they are going to be very wrinkled!) and we just have a few things left to do! We will try to update the blog when we are in Ethiopia. It will be so exciting to share about our trip! We can't post any pictures of Zeri until after our court date on Monday. Please pray that the judge says that he is our child and that all of the paperwork is in his (judge) hands that day.
 Another neat thing we get to do is meet our  YWAM family during this trip. We are looking forward to meeting this mother and daughter!
 Please continue to pray that things go smoothly for us and that Zeri comes home soon. Please pray that we feel God's loving arms around us as we leave Zeri on Saturday (we will only see him on Friday and Saturday) and that it takes the minimum amount of time (about 6 weeks) until we can bring home!!
 Thank you for your support!:)

Sunday, March 31, 2013


   I think I have finally learned that God is in control of everything. I will probably write a few more posts about the stress I'm feeling before I bring my son home, but I need to remind myself that God is in control.
  A few weeks ago I really wanted to hear that our court date was set for this week. I prayed and asked many of you to pray for our court date to be around this time. God knew that this was not when we were supposed to go to Ethiopia.
  My amazing Grandpa (dad's dad) passed away today. I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandpa and will always treasure my recent visits with him. We knew that my Grandpa was sick and therefore we spent multiple hours at my Grandpa's house during the last few weeks. My Grandpa had a hilarious sense of humor and we were constantly laughing around him. Yesterday, my family spent the afternoon at his bedside and we were able to express our love for him. Grandpa told us he loved us too.
  If God had listened to what I wanted and went on my timeline, we would be in Ethiopia during my Grandpa's funeral. I would have also missed spending quality time with my Grandpa and being there for my dad during this tough time.
 God KNEW that I needed to be here for my family this week. I am just so thankful that God is in control and I'm not.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

OUR first court date!!

 Praise God for a quick court date!!! We found out today that we are going to Ethiopia in April!
Our case worker sent us an e-mail this morning that said our court date is on April 22! This is a month before we thought we would go to Ethiopia!!
 Jeremiah and I were looking for flights this morning. The first flights we looked at were expensive. Then we saw a cheaper flight ($1,500 per person instead of $3,000!) with only two seats left and we booked it! Jeremiah and I will meet our son on Friday, April 19!!! We are praising God for being in  control and for allowing us to book this flight. I can not believe it. We are going to meet Zeri!!!!!

Happy 4th Birthday Olivia!!!

 Olivia turned 4 years old on March 29. We started the day off by giving Olivia her birthday present  and eating cake for breakfast. Olivia has been asking us for a Princess Dream Castle for about a year. We kept telling her it was too expensive and she doesn't always get what she wants. We were not going to get it for her, but then we found it for an extremely cheap price on ebay. We couldn't pass it up. Olivia could not stop smiling when she saw her present! After a super healthy (:)) breakfast we got in the car and drove to Indy. We spent the day together as a family at the Indy Children's Museum. When we got to Indy the workers told us it was the busiest day of the year at the museum. It took us over an hour just to get in to the museum. Olivia was such a trooper and she enjoyed hanging out at the museum all day. We finished the day off with reading the Bible and then snuggling in bed! It was the perfect day to celebrate our girl!
  We love you Olivia Ann!!! You are the most delightful and hilarious little girl I've ever met. We are so blessed to be your Mommy and Daddy!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A choice I will never have to make.

  Jeremiah and I sponsor a family through an organization called YWAM. We are thrilled to meet this family when we visit our son in Ethiopia. The family we support lives in a trash dump in Ethiopia. I came across YWAM's blog today and I immediately started to think about my life. I started to think about how I am worried about when we are going to bring our son home, worried about who is going to fill my position at school next semester, and worried about many other things related to adoption/next year.

   It hit me that what I am worrying about is silly compared to what the mom in this article (and countless others throughout the world) are worrying about every day. I've never had to worry about getting food for Olivia and I can say that I've never gone for days without food. I've never stopped (and passed out) on the side of the road because I had no energy from lack of food.

  The woman in this article was working and trying to support herself when she was raped. Then she found out she was pregnant and that her sister was dying from HIV. This woman took in her sister's daughter and then had her own daughter. Now this woman can't work because she has no one to care for her children while she works. I've never had this feeling before.

 This woman receives $2.75 a month in assistance from a friend and then receives food from her extremely poor neighbor. I've definitely never had to beg for food from a friend. Every ounce of food this woman receives she gives to her children. Therefore, she is just starving. I've never had this feeling.

  I can not imagine what this woman is going through. I just went to the grocery store yesterday and spent more than I assume this woman will make in a lifetime. How is this fair? I walk into my house and often say to Jeremiah that I can't find anything good to eat. Yet I have so many items in my pantry. How is this fair?

   I am ashamed that there is a mother living in a different part of the world who has nothing to eat and yet I am complaining about not bringing my son home for a few months. I realize that everyone has struggles and that it's okay that I'm upset about Z. However, it's not okay for me to dwell on this and let my feelings impact my life.

   My son was left by someone and I assume it was his mother. One thing that we know is that Z was a healthy baby. He is a chunky monkey and I assume that his mother cared for him the same way that this woman is caring for her children. I assume that his mother had to make the most difficult decision of her life and leave him because she wanted a better life for him. How is this fair?

   I will never be faced with this decision....to keep my child and probably see him die at an early age or give him up so that he can live. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I know that life isn't fair, but I also know that no one should have to live in these horrible conditions. The woman in this story is trying her best to keep her family together. It breaks my heart to think that she may not be able to keep her daughter because she doesn't have money. I've never had this feeling.

  I am so thankful that little Z's birth mom thought of him and the life he could have. I'm thankful that she took care of him for the first months of his life (because we know that he is way more chunky than most babies in Ethiopia!). I am thankful that I have a healthy boy in Ethiopia who isn't hungry. I am thankful that my little Z is in a safe environment and that he is loved. But..I am also sad for his birth family. They had to make a choice that I will never have to make.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Not the news we wanted to hear...

We didn't hear the news we were praying for yesterday. I don't feel like writing a long blog post about it, so here is the short version.
 We won't go to Ethiopia until at least May to meet Z and then we won't bring him home until at least July or August.
  Yesterday I was extremely crushed and upset. Obviously, I long for my boy to be in my arms. However, that's not why I'm so upset. Our son needs to be home with his family. He needs to see our smiles and see that we won't leave him, he needs to hear us read to him, and he needs to play with his sister. He needs to start the process of attaching to his mommy, daddy, and sister. I don't want him to spend the next 9 months trying to attach to one caregiver after another. I want him to realize that he can trust us and that we will always be there for him.
 When I look at his pictures I see a boy who is sad. Even my mom looked at our recent pictures and said something like, "Oh Kort..his eyes just look so sad." I know he is being taken care of and is healthy right now. The nannies are doing their best job to take care of him. But..it's nothing like the care a mommy and daddy can give him.
  I'm sad for us..yes, of course. I dreamed of bringing him home in May and spending the entire summer off with Z and Olivia. I dreamed of hearing that we would get a court date in 2-3 weeks and that I would be kissing all over my sweet little Z at the end of March. I dreamed of feeling his chubby arms and seeing his smile (that is missing from his pictures). That, my friends, is not why I am upset.
 I am upset that we saw him when he was 9 months old and that it could take another 9 months for us to bring him home. That is just not right. A child should not have to wait that long to go home to his forever family. He has been through so much in his short little life and he needs consistency.
 So, when I say that I'm heart broken..it's not for me (okay..a tiny bit is for us:))..but for our son who won't know the love of a family for another 9 months.
 Pray that the courts move quickly and that we can bring him home before July. In the meantime, pray that the nannies are loving on him like we would.

*I KNOW that we are extremely blessed to have a healthy daughter and a healthy son in Ethiopia. I KNOW that we are blessed that our kids aren't sick or that we are struggling with some other horrible life issue. Please know that.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Z!!


Today is our little Zeri's first birthday. We wish we were there to celebrate with him!
We started the day out by praying for Zeri. Olivia wanted to wear her Halloween costume, so in all of our morning pictures she looks like a pirate.:)

We took this picture right after we finished praying for Zeri. 

 I started the day off feeling a bit sad about not being with Zeri on his big day. A few people sent me text messages this morning and those quickly brightened my day. Throughout the day we received sweet text messages, phone calls, and e-mails from friends and family wishing our little boy a Happy 1st Birthday. One of my teacher friends bought me a huge Mtn. Dew to celebrate his birthday.:)

Right before my students were dismissed, my Principal brought in a huge bundle of balloons. I opened the card and it said, "Happy 1st Birthday baby boy! Even though your friends and family can't celebrate WITH you this year, we are celebrating FOR you. Smile Mommy and Daddy, he'll be there soon! Love, your friends." I still don't know who sent these balloons, but they definitely made my day.

Olivia proudly holding Zer's birthday balloons.
Yesterday, we received 5 pictures of Zeri's birthday party in Ethiopia. They actually had a 1st b-day party for him! They took a picture of the cake and then we received 4 pictures of Zeri at his celebration. They are something we will treasure forever! We sent our case worker an e-mail a few weeks ago asking her if the nannies could take his picture on his birthday and she said yes. We knew they would take a picture of him, but we didn't know that we would receive 5! What a blessing!

Today I opened up my e-mail and we received another 5 new pictures of our sweet Zeri!! This never happens! Our case worker said it was a "Surprise picture day!" It was so wonderful to see his sweet little face looking at me. These pictures were exactly what this mama needed on my son's first birthday. I needed to see that he was doing okay and he is. He looks healthy! He was even standing up in one of his pictures-praise God! We weren't sure that he was standing up yet and we can tell that he can do it. Oh, how I wish I could share his pictures with you. We aren't allowed to share his pictures until after our first court date. He has the most precious, sparkling brown eyes and the most kissable lips!:)

Tonight we made a cake for Zeri and then sang Happy Birthday to him. Olivia decided that she wanted to wear her Tiana dress in these pictures. I am just happy she isn't wearing her pirate costume for all of his 1st b-day pictures. :)

We ended the day with another prayer time for Zeri. God is in control. Thank you God for blessing us with this sweet boy! We know that before he was born you determined that Zeri was our boy! We just thank you for allowing us to be his parents and taking us on this journey. Zeri-we love you so much! We can't wait to love on you forever!!

Today I am also celebrating because the Board of Education approved my 1/2 year Parental Leave. I am going to take off the entire first semester of the school year next year! I get to be with Olivia and Zeri from August-January! Yay!! I.CAN.NOT.WAIT! This will be an extremely important time for Zeri. We want to do everything that we can to help Zeri form the proper attachment to us and we believe that this time off will benefit our entire family.

**Please keep praying for the March 19 court date. Please pray that it goes smoothly and they assign us our court date that day. Pray that our court date is 2-3 weeks out and not 2 months out.