Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lottie's Smile :-)

When Lottie smiles, she gets a big smile and then sticks out her tongue.  It is the cutest. thing. ever!

Monday, January 30, 2012

She Loves Her Daddy...

... and he loves her too :-)

Please forgive my witch cackle at the end.  (Note to self:  NEVER laugh like that again!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Early this morning while we slept, the Judge in Ethiopia officially made us a family of three!  So now, I have the great honor of introducing Charlotte Mastewal Daniels:

I flaked out while we were there and didn't get ANY pictures of the three of us together (argh!), so I'll just have to settle for showing you pictures of Lottie with Mommy:

And Lottie with Daddy:

She is the sweetest, most precious little girl we have EVER met and are thrilled to officially call her our daughter!

Welcome to the family little one!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

We're Back!

I wanted to start blogging about our trip today, but I'm still trying to process all of the things we saw and experienced. 

We did not pass Court, as we'd hoped, but that turned out OK.  We did get a positive MOWCYA opinion, and Gladney's attorney was able to get the Judge the documents she'd requested.  When we got to Ethiopia, we had an email from our caseworker letting us know that the Judge had asked for a Notice to be published in the national newspaper, which is sent out to the rural areas too.  The Notice states that if anyone has any objections to "Lottie's" adoption, they must appear before the Judge on January 30.  We don't expect anyone will appear, so we hope to pass Court on that day.  If anyone should come forward after the 30th, the Judge would basically tell them that they've missed their opportunity.  It's really a good thing, so we're OK with the delay.

Since we haven't yet passed Court, I can't share all of the pictures (and video) of our girl.  But here are just a couple of Lottie and her daddy.  They love each other already :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Quick Update

We leave in the morning!  I am a bundle of emotions, but will leave that for another day...

For our friends and family not living in adoption world, I wanted to tell you about how the court process in Ethiopia works.  We actually have two court dates.  The first one was this past Friday (the 6th) and the second one will be the one we attend next Thursday (the 19th).  The first court date is usually referred to as the MOWCYA (or MOWA) court date.  This is where the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs issues their Opinion on our case.  Sometimes they issue their Opinion on their actual court date, and other times they issue it later.  Right now they're running a little behind, so we did not receive our Opinion on Friday as we'd hoped. However, our caseworker believes that MOWCYA should issue it some time between now and our court date, so it's not really a big deal. 

The other (hopefully) small issue is that the Judge requested to see a couple of documents that should have been in our file.  For whatever reason, they were not in the file, but Gladney's attorney will be resubmitting them this week.  Technically, the Judge scheduled another court date on the 30th to review those documents, but since the documents will be in our file on the day we go to court, we're hoping she will have everything she needs at that point to make us an official family under Ethiopian law.  If, for some reason, she needs more information, then we will not pass court on the 19th.  However, we will not need to go back for any other court hearings.  Our part will be done on the 19th.

I had really taken for granted that everything with the court process would go smoothly and quickly.  While this is really just a minor hiccup, it has me on edge a little bit.  Your prayers for our court process and my emotional stability would be greatly appreciated!

Stay tuned for our post-trip update!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Travel Plans and Prayer Requests

Wow.  What a whirlwind of a week!  Monday, of course, started off with a bang, as we found out at 9:00 am that we would be meeting our daughter in two weeks.  I've barely been able to focus on anything for any length of time all week, but have managed to get a few things together.  Rob, on the other hand, has been making listS (yes, more than one) like this:

It's really good.  At least one of us needs to be organized.  My brain WILL NOT allow me to get it together, no matter how hard I try!  I just want to go - get there and meet our girl.  It's OK if I forget something - I don't even care!  As long as I have a camera with which to take a gazillion pictures of her, and maybe some clean clothes, I'm good!  But my awesome husband, is SUPER prepared, and I am SO thankful :-)

We had planned on trying to get our vaccinations this week anyway, so we pretty much made that A1 priority.  Fortunately on Tuesday when Rob called our county's Department of Health, they were able to schedule an appointment for us that afternoon, they had all the vaccinations we needed, and charged us about half the price of what I hear other families paying.  So, other than some soreness and itchiness around the injection sites (SIX of them!), it was win-win!

By Wednesday, we had booked our travel for NEXT WEDNESDAY!  Yes, in the end, we had a week and a half to put together a trip that we hadn't even STARTED preparing for.  Oh well, makes for an interesting life :-)

So, bright and early on Wednesday the 11th, we will fly to DC to spend the day and night.  Fortunately, we have some friends who moved up there last year, so we'll get to eat dinner with them and meet their new little son.

Then on the morning of Thursday the 12th, we will fly from DC straight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - about a 14 hour flight.  We will arrive in Addis on the morning of Friday the 13th.

Our driver will meet us at the airport and take us to our guest house.  We have a friend who left today to get her son, so we should see her at the guest house before she leaves to come back home.  I am SO excited about that.  It has been a REALLY long journey for them, and I'm so glad they are so close to bringing their son home.

We have very few plans for the weekend, but we are planning on spending time with yet ANOTHER friend.  This very dear friend has also had a REALLY, REALLY long journey adopting 2 little ones and is in Addis for an indefinite amount of time.  We're hoping to spend some time with her and the kids over the weekend, and then have plans to go to church and out to lunch on Sunday.  I can't tell you HOW excited I am about attending a worship service in Ethiopia.  We weren't sure we would get to do this, and I'm so glad it worked out.

And then... Monday is the day.  On Monday the 16th, we will get to meet our Lottie.  Just thinking about it makes me all kinds of emotional.  I really hope I don't cry and freak her out.  It would not be good for Rob and I to cry puddles of tears all over the floor and her.  Plus, according to the packet we got from our agency this week, THIS IS NOT A BONDING TRIP!  We don't want her to bond with us, because it will be harder for her when we leave.  So we're just supposed to keep it light and playful.  Here's hoping we can do that!

We are scheduled to have one-hour visits with Lottie on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.  The rest of the time we will be sight-seeing and doing tourist-y things.  Except on Thursday.  Thursday is the day we got to court and meet with the Judge.  Hopefully, if everything goes well, she will tell us that day that we are a family.  It's possible she won't, but I'm really, really hoping she will...  because once she does, then we can share with the whole world just how gorgeous our Lottie is (i.e., we can post photos on the blog and facebook).  I really cannot wait to share photos of the little girl that captured our hearts the first time we saw her. 

And then on Friday night, we'll fly from Addis to DC.  It IS a direct flight, but we have to stop in  Rome for fuel, although we don't get off the plane.  Because of the stop, this flight is about 17 hours.

We will arrive in DC early on Saturday the 21st.  Unfortunately, we have to spend all day in DC, as our flight home isn't until about 6:00, BUT did I mention we have great friends in DC?  They have graciously agreed to come pick us up and take us to their house for a nice, hot shower.  I'm so thankful for good friends :-)

So that's what we're expecting.  I'm sure it won't all go smoothly, and I'm (mostly) prepared for that.  Here are some prayer requests:
  1. That we don't get sick.  We have meds in case we do get sick, but we really, really don't want to get sick.
  2. That we would be flexible and understanding of plans changing at the last minute, and able to easily deal with the disappointment of things not happening like we thought/hoped they would.
  3. That Lottie would at least like us a little bit, and that the Lord would prepare her heart to accept us as her parents.
  4. That we would relax and enjoy our time in Ethiopia. 
Thank you so much to everyone who has already been praying!  The Lord has definitely shown us favor by giving us a court date so soon, which puts us in a GREAT position to be able to bring Lottie home by her first birthday, which is what I've been asking from the day we received our referral.  It's certainly no guarantee - the Embassy process can be rough these days - but no matter what, we're trusting in His timing and provision.

Monday, January 2, 2012

a VERY HAPPY New Year!!!

I am still in shock, but SO HAPPY to report that we got our court date this morning!!!  It's January 19, which means that we have TWO WEEKS to get our act together and get on a plane for Ethiopia!  This is all happening about a month sooner than we expected, so we're both pretty frazzled at this point.  When I told Rob about it, he told me to stop praying for things to move quickly :-)  So, thank you to all of you who have been praying.  I think the real hurdle will be the Embassy process, but we're trusting the Lord to move.

We get to meet our little Lottie on Monday, January 16 and I cannot WAIT!