December 22, 2009

Marley at 7 Months

Seven months my baby has been making all kinds of milestones. For one month, we have gotten to witness them. While I will never know what she accomplished in the first six months without us, I do know that the last four weeks with us, she is making great strides! When coming into our arms at just six months old she:
  • held her head up
  • reached for objects
  • smiled, cooed and laughed
  • occasionally rolled over
  • could pull up chest off of floor
  • said dada
  • woke 2-3 times a night
  • weighed 13.2 lbs.
  • has a mouth full of gum
  • could not bear any weight on her legs
At seven months old, she can:
  • pulls up her chest off the floor and holds it
  • screams and has the most hilarious laugh!
  • rolls over and over
  • scoots backwards
  • imitates (scrunches her nose and smacks her lips)
  • blows raspberries
  • sleeps all night
  • using those leg muscles!
  • loves the johnny jumper!
  • started eating food, she prefers (pureed of course!)
  • weights 14ish lbs.
  • still no teeth
And because you are here for the pictures and not

December 13, 2009

We've Been Home Two Weeks

Marley is just pure joy! What an amazing gift our Father has given us! The words cannot describe the amount of love, happiness and joy we feel. She is the perfect child that was meant for our family, and I am so glad that she has joined it. She is full of smiles, although at times hard to catch on camera. She spends most of her days in my arms, tummy time and now in a jumper that she just LOVES! She's eating more and experimenting with baby food. She's made several outings and made several people smile. We are still trying to not overdo it, it's really hard being a! Okay, stop laughing. She loves her bows and hats, really she does. Marley also got a great report from her doctor! She sleeps through the night!
We have been blessed with meals from great friends, and we are sooooo greatful! The transition from one child to two has been a very easy one. Miles absolutely loves his little sister. He is eager to get to her first thing in the morning and often reminds me that Marley is going with us when we leave the house. No, I don't forget her, but Miles seems to think that I would, too funny! He kisses her and lets her kiss all over him, that's a lot for a five year old boy!
Thank you all for your prayers over the last few years. Marley is truly so awesome and the transition has been beyond what we could have ever dreamed of!

December 7, 2009

Bringing Marley Home!

Finally, what you've all been waiting for...our photos from our trip. We've been home one week, and I have to say that Marley is truly a gift from God. A real life miracle and blessing way more than we ever imagined. She fits so perfectly in our family and it the happiest baby we have ever seen. There is no way that we could have orchestrated this any more perfectly. Thank God that our Father is in control, He really outdid himself on this one! Thank you God for answering our prayers and bringing this child into our lives!

December 6, 2009

Ethiopia Day 6

This is our last day in Ethiopia. We are so nervous and excited to visit the orphanage Sifen came from. She spent her first two months of her life there. We also have our huge lot of donations to take to Biruh Zemen Orphanage. We have to drop off Marley again at House of Hope. This time I'm not wanting to take her back to that crib she's been in for four months. I know they love the babies, but not like me. They won't hold her like me, feed her like me, nurture her like me. Two to Three hours, that's all I keep telling myself. The nerves are running all through me. I can't settle them. I'm trying to focus myself on documenting as much as I can for my little Marley. This is my one opportunity to learn about where she came from and the circumstances of her coming to us. What a responsibility, what an honor!
We pulled up to House of Hope and I walled up those stairs to put Sifen back in the arms of one of the nannies that cared for her for so long, yet I worry about her care. I wonder if she will miss me, will she wonder why she's back in the that room again? Will she be scared? I put her in the arms of a nanny and watched as she looked at me and then looked at the nanny. She seemed alright. As we pulled off in the van, I wondered how long the drive would be.
After about 40 minutes, and a drive through a more beautiful Ethiopia than Addis Ababa, we arrived at Biruh Zemen. Almaz, our translator, knocked on the gate and we walked into the compound like orphanage. We stood at the gate that she was brought to by her first mother, her Amaye. I wondered how her care was when she stayed here. So many things ran through my mind. Almaz and a staff member started getting into a heated discussion. Brandon and I were confused and taken back. Not knowing any Amharic, we waited for an explanation. We were told that the orphanage director was not there. She was told that we were coming, but somehow wasn't there. We didn't know what that meant and it seemed like we were just supposed to leave. I asked if we could look around and take video and pictures. They agreed. We saw the room Sifen stayed in. It brought me to tears. My sweet girl was once in this room, she spent her first months in this room. It was sad room. Although probably a better life than she would have had, yet a small room with the infamous handmade cribs holding about 4 babies each, just separated by painted plywood. The floors were swept clean, but stained with dirt. The walls were damaged with water stains and mildew. The sheets and blankets were old and stained. While their standards and priorities are not mine, she was cared for, just not by us. We toured the place and took pictures and video to share with our Marley one day. We then gave them the donations we had collected and they were overjoyed. The quickly took them all into a room and started going through everything. The children stood around us and we couldn't help but to give them fruit roll ups, which we quickly found was an favorite! Then it was time to go. What a sad ride back. I held back tears and stared out the van window, absorbing the town and roads where Marley's Amaye may have walked.
Back at House of Hope, I quickly made it up to the second floor and into the room Miss Marley was in. Thankfully, she was sleeping and I got to be the one to wake her and the first face she saw. Ahhhh, my sweet girl. Today we celebrated our children with a traditional Ethiopian meal with a coffee ceremony. What a great treat. Again, Brandon couldn't refuse coffee and I was loving it! They showed us the raw beans, and as we ate lunch, one of the cooks roasted ground and brewed the coffee. We drank it with popcorn, it's the tradition! What a wonderful time we had. We loved Tsegay and Almaz and the rest of the staff. Fikre and our driver, took us back to Melkam Guest House. As we rounded the corner from House of Hope, a man sitting on the corner shouted out to us, "Thank you for taking care of our children." What an emotional day.
Zeyede drove us to the airport, such a friendly man. We said our goodbyes to him and to Ethiopia and headed into Bole Airport to ready ourselves for the long ride home. Our flight home was long. It was not easy. But we are here, home on U.S. soil at last. Praise God!

December 4, 2009

Ethiopia Day 5

Happy Thanksgiving! We talked Almaz into taking us shopping instead of going to the museum. She was very eager to help us find bargains. We had to drop our children off at House of Hope for the shopping excursion. Sifen had been doing really well, so we didn't mind letting her visit with her nannies for a few hours. We arrived at a strip of shops. It really was all overwhelming. I wasn't sure what to buy and where from. We knew we wanted some traditional dresses for Miss Marley and I wanted one as well. Coffee was also a must! We walked around from shop to shop and Almaz worked her magic. It was quite amusing, actually, to watch her negotiate bargains. It was like an art for her, she really enjoyed it. She then took us to a coffee shop. Not like the coffee shops in America. This was the real deal. They had raw coffee beans and roasted them on location about 6 different ways. We selected the roast we wanted and had it bagged. Then we had Machiatto's while we waited. Ahh my favorite part of the trip!
In the afternoon, all the couples traveling treated a few of the staff to what we thought would be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Hilton. It ended up being Ethiopian food, but it was nice to celebrate with them. We explained our holiday and that we eat until we can't eat anymore and then sleep. They were Ficker, our driver, said he would always remember us because he spent his first Thanksgiving holiday with us.

Ethiopia Day 4

Marley woke up early and has been a little fussy. I feel like it's ear infections. She rubs and tugs at both ears a lot. Poor baby. I have been giving her Tylenol a couple times a day. Since our schedule has been so full of tourism type activities, poor Marley is napping for about 2o minutes at a time and not having much of any routine. Things will change when we get home. I just worry about our flight home. She really is such a happy baby and her fussiness is obviously out of discomfort and probably also from being pulled out of her surroundings. This morning, early, Brandon got really sick. REALLY sick. Luckily, he began to feel better after lunch. Firsth this this morning we went to House of Hope to take pictures and spend time with all the children. We saw Ruhama first. She is my friend Missy's baby. I had many many children to visit, but Ruhama got priority, as she is just 5 days younger than Marley and I'm her Akist! I walked into the room that I have so many pictures of Marley in. I had the nanny change Ru into a t-shirt her family made for her. I talked to her her and held her for her mommy. There were so many babies there, I couldn't tell if all of them had been referred out or not.
There are four rooms that babies are in. Three rooms were for little babies, like under a year. One looked like it was for babies around one to two years old. I saw nannies feeding, changing and washing babies. I went into a room that had a gym mat on the floor and about eight babies having tummy time while a nanny folded what looked like about 200 cloth diapers. I always wondered if the babies had tummy time. I guess so.
After taking pictures and visiting with the babies, I went downstaris to visit withthe older children. I sat on a step as about 15 children crowed me with admiration. They called me Mommy as they brushed their fingers through my hair. They were very entertained by my straight hair and my skin. They stroked my hair and my arm. One girl tried to put a pony tail in my hair and then an older gilr took it from her and corrected her in Amharic on how to do it the right way. The boys were rubbing my arm as to say it was The smiled giant big smiles, some toothless. We gave them candy and playdough. They sang two songs. They seemed so proud to preform for us and we cheered when they were finished. The nanny then handed us our shoes, as if to say it's time to go. Too funny! I was able to take some video and pictures for many families.
The other travel families returned from the mountain tour and we left just minutes later to eat lunch again and go back to our guest homes. Our documents from the Embassy were ready, what a relief!

December 2, 2009

Ethiopia Day 3

Marley is adjusting to us very well. She wants to be held and currently prefers Mommy. A lot of adoptive children shows that the child tend to bond with one parent at a time. While she shows love and interest in both of us, she does seem to seek me out more. I am so happy, no elated. Don't get me wrong, she loves her Daddy! In fact he makes her laugh hysterically and she says Dada! She's not calling him Dada yet, but she loves to babble Dada! We can't believe it. We have learned that she doesn't like to be changed or undressed. Whoa, boy does she not like that. She does, however, like being held. We are so happy to meet that need!
Our agencies itinerary had us going to the Lion zoo in the morning and the Embassy in the afternoon. We really didn't want to go to the zoo, but figured a trip out would be fun. What a joke! It's crazy how unsecured those lines are. We walked around for about 15 minutes and that was it. Oh, by the way, if you ever go to this zoo, do not plan to take pictures unless you are prepared to pay for that option. And if you pay to take pictures, be warned that still pictures does not mean video. You will be chased down for taking video and demanded to pay an additional fee. It was hilarious and scary to watch this happen to some of our fellow travelers, but a funny story to tell.
We ate lunch at House of hope 2 again. This time the nannies came in and held our babies right outside the dinning room while we ate. I had heard of this and was somewhat prepared. It was difficult to let go, but she was just a matter of feet from me and it was nice to eat. After lunch and a quick siesta, we were off to our visa appointment. We were told to dress up in a long dress and men to be dressed as well. It's an appearance thing, they don't want to have us claiming we can financially support these children and then come to the Embassy appointment dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I don't own a long skirt, so I wore dress slacks and a blouse. Brandon wore a dress shirt, tie and slacks. We fit in just fine. We did see some adoptive families in jeans and we are glad we chose to dress up slightly. By this time, Sifen was all dolled up with her dress and bow and in the sling. I figured it was a nice opportunity to dress her up too. Any opportunity for me to place one of those pretty big bows on her head!
Walking into the U.S. Embassy was not what I expected. After walking in to a secured gated area, we sat under a canopy with benches. It seemed like adoptive families had priority and were called in first. There were Ethiopians in line as well. We were called to go through security a couple at a time. The Ethiopians also waiting stared with curiosity and smiles. I heard Kongo a lot. Kon-Joe is Amharic for beautiful. We went through security and into a warm room with several other adoptive families from other agencies and Ethiopians. When our turn came up, an American man interviewed us, asking basic questions. Then he pointed out that there was a document missing. My heart sank. She's already in my arms and something else was about to delay her coming home? It turned out, after about 2 hours, that it's some new document that the Embassy is requesting for relinquished children. On our Embassy appointment, it seemed to be new to all the agencies there. They were all scrambling to get them. Our in country representative handled it very well and we were on our way back to Melkam Guest house for our second night with Sifen.

December 1, 2009

Ethiopia Day 2

Surprisingly, we slept good last night. At what we thought was 3:00 a.m., we both laid awake. "Are you awake?" "Yeah, you?" The excitement of getting to meet our daughter today kept us awake. Still confused by the time, we wanted to get up and get going. Then, the call to prayer started. We knew it was 5:00 a.m, and in about four hours,we would meet our little girl. It is still dark outside, but we are here and all dressed and packed to spend some time at House of Hope and to meet Marley. The fact that we are here hasn't set in. After all this time, we are really in Ethiopia and we are really about to meet this little one we have prayed for for so long. Tonight she will be with us. Tonight will begin the rest of her lives in our arms. Yeah, I said the rest. We don't plan on letting her grow up. Tonight will be her first time away from the orphanage and transition home. Tonight, for the first time, she will have someone to care for her every need. Tonight. I hope she likes!

She is in our arms forever! After the long wait this morning for 9:00 a.m. to arrive, we were finally headed to House of Hope to pick up our Sifen. Sifen is her Ethiopian name. It is pronounced Sea-Fin. The staff like to call her Sea-Fin-E, Sea-Fin-oo, or Sea-Fin-ish. They are all terms of endearment. Our driver pulled up to the famous green gates enclosing the compound that our daughter has been at for three months. He honked and a security guard opened those gates to allow us to drive in. He pulled in and we exited the van not knowing where and how we would be introduced to Sifen. We were walked up a set of stairs to a second floor room that was set up like a living area. There was another couple on one of the sofas with an little boy about 7 months old, sleeping on their laps. They had just been given there son and were waiting for him to awaken to meet him for the first time. We chatted briefly, my heart was racing. I wondered how it would happen. Then we saw a silhouette appear through the windows and in walks Tsegay followed by a nanny carrying my sweet girl all dressed up for us. I walked over, trying to contain my tears to avoid scaring her. I scooped her up and into my arms. They gave me formula directions but I didn't hear them.
She came into my arms as if she had been there forever. She smiled at me, cooed and then the grand slam, she laid her head on my chest! What a perfect gift! I've heard it many times before, but she really was meant for us, and we have just experienced yet another reminder that our God is in control and this was His timing! After about 3o minutes of adoring our new baby, we went into Tsegay's office to review our paperwork and visa interview procedures. Brandon did all the official stuff, while I sat there holding, kissing and loving on this child we have prayed for for over three years. Almaz, Tsegay's wife and worker at House of Hope, walked in during our meeting. We had met a very timid Almaz in St. Louis just tow months before. The Almaz in Ethiopia is full of personality. She immediately came in in to hug me and then turned her entire attntion to Sifen, or who she calls Sifeny. She clapped and chanted "Congratulations Day," in a very heavy accent to Sifen. She loved it and responded so well to Almaz. She obviously loves and spends time with all the children at House of Hope. After finishing our paperwork, we went back up to the meeting room and waited for another couple. We saw the older children at House of Hope in a classroom and lining up for potty time. They seemed excited to see us and we were eager to get to meet them. We got in the van to go back to our guest house and they loaded up two children that we going to meet their family for the first time. How exciting was that to witness! We ate lunch at House of Hope 2, it was amazing! It seemed like traditional Ethiopian food with a twist. We finished our evening admiring Sifen in our room. She only woke once at night to eat and when she did, she was cooing and babbling. Amazing.

Ethiopia Day 1

Tonight, we just arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had a long flight, but after we got off that plane we hadn't remembered just how long it really was. It took us about an hour and a half to get through customs and get our visas. We had grabbed a luggage cart, unloaded our luggage off the conveyor and before we even noticed it, some big man took our luggage cart and pushed his way threw the x-ray machines. He walked about 50 feet with the care we loaded and then demanded $50, or most likely 50 birr. We heard about this before our travel and swore we weren't going to fall in that trap, but here we were in it! Soon Zeyede's sign that said Brandon and Elisa was visible and we felt some relief. He had his three boys help us with our luggage and sat us down to drink some coffee while we waited for two other families. The coffee was amazing. He bought both of us coffee. Brandon doesn't drink coffee, but it would have been rude to decline, so even Brandon drank it. He liked it...I may have a coffee buddy after all! After the coffee, we headed to Zeyede's van. There had to be some famous girl there because there were paparazzi type people following her. We got into the van and felt a bit intimidated the the foreign language. We are staying at Melkam Guest House. It's three stories high and is basically a house. As I sit here writing this, I am amazed that right now, just a few minutes away is Marley. I just packed my backpack hoping to have everything we need for our for our first day together. I'm not sure how we will know what time it is. When we asked Zeyede about the time, he chuckled and then gave us two different times. Something about sunrise it's 1 p.m., and when the sun sets it's midnight? I'm totally lost on that one!

November 30, 2009

We are Home!

So glad to be back home and to finally have Marley on U.S. soil! I will be posting my journal entries in the next few days. I just had to give you a teaser of our little angel!

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Update!

I received a long email from Elisa today!! They got to spend the day with the babies and kids at the HOH. She said she was able to get all of the pictures people requested and deliver gifts. She said the children and babies are very well-cared for and happy. She described the HOH as a very busy place! They will be back in the US this weekend and I am sure she will post tons of video of her precious little Marley!!!!


Another update

I got another call from Elisa today. Things are going really well. They are enjoying Ethiopia and Marley, of course!! They will be spending all day on Thursday at the HOH with the kids! They stopped by there really quick yesterday to drop off some paperwork and the older kids were playing in the courtyard. They all ran up to the van yelling, "My name is...". Elisa said it was SO cute and she can't wait to play with them on Thanksgiving!! I will probably post one more update from her, then they will be home...can't wait to see tons of pics!!!


November 25, 2009

An Update

I talked to Elisa this morning. They have Marley!! She said Marley is perfect and things are going very well!!! They are planning on spending Thursday at the HOH, visiting the kiddos, taking pictures, and delivering lots of love (and some little gifts) from the parents! Hopefully, I will hear from her again on Friday....keep you posted...


November 23, 2009

In Ethiopia!!

Hi, everyone! This is Missy, Elisa's guest blogger for the week. Just got an email from Elisa....they are safely in Ethiopia and waiting for their ride to the HOH!!!!! In just a short while, they will have Marley in their arms.....finally!! I'll keep you posted throughout the week.

Missy :)

November 21, 2009


As I sit in the Dulles USO, I am overhelmed by the emotions that I am feeling. We are checked in on Etiopian Airlines and I was so overtaken by just the sight of Ethiopians. Crazy, I know! They are just beautiful people and resemble my baby. Crazy, just crazy! So this will be my last post until after we are back on U.S. soil. My friend, Missy,will be blogging for me. I am not sure how often of if I will be able to call or get internet access to update, but I will attempt to. I can't wait to share the rest of our story with y'all! PEACE OUT!

November 20, 2009


Tomorrow is the day we head out to pick up our beautiful little girl. Tomorrow we get on that plane and pray, cry, and dream of holding her in our arms. Tomorrow we fly to Ethiopia, the birthplace of our baby girl. Emotions are high, oh so high. Worry, a part of human nature, has taken over me. I'm trying so hard to let it go, and truly give it to God. The hard part is over. Or at least the journey to her. Now our journey together begins.
We felt led to adopt on Mother's Day 2006. We began to pray and ask God to lead us in the right direction and give us confirmation on His will. We knew we were called to adopt from Africa. After going our own way and trying to adopt through the state of Texas, we were reminded that our daughter was in Africa. In October of 2007, we decided we were changing agencies and going to adopt through Ethiopia. In January of 2008, we submitted our application. In July of 2008, our dossier was in Ethiopia and we were officially on the waiting list. In July of 2009, we saw Marley's face for the first time. And now, in November of 2009, we will have her in our arms forever! What a journey!

November 19, 2009


We are busy packing and making sure we have everything we need in the Hyman house! We packed all the donations and all we have left to pack is our clothes! I'm a list queen, so lists are everywhere! Lists of what I still need to do, what I still need to pack, instructions for my in-laws and friends, instructions for teachers/bus driver, lists of questions to ask Amaye, lists of children of other adoptive families to take pictures of, lists of who to get gifts for and what to get, and a list of my lists! I know, crazy...but it's just how my brain works!
While we are away, I will attempt to call my in-laws and my guest blogger, Missy, to keep them updated. Missy will be blogging for me while I'm away. Missy's baby just legally became hers this week and since I'm her "auntie", I am hoping to get to love all over her before her mommy goes to pick her up! This is truly going to be one of the highlights of my trip. Missy is such a close friend of mine and we were hoping to travel together. Since we aren't, I get to smooch on that baby for her! So keep checking out the blog to hear what's going on. I won't be able to load pictures until we get back. Two more days baby!

November 18, 2009


Thank you all for donating all these goodies for us to take to House of Hope and Beru Zemen (name shortened) Orphanage. We received way more that we had anticipated and are so thankful! A quick shot out to a friend of a friend who really loaded us up. THANK YOU! You all were very generous with your donations and paying for shipping to mail them here, for buying brand new items and medications. THANK YOU! Now I'm off to!

Three Days!

I can't believe we are leaving in just three days! It's so surreal! We are in a packing frenzy! Marley is packed, and that is about We are busy finalizing all the arrangements for Miles. Here are a few pictures of my cousins wedding we went to last weekend in D.C.. Miles had a blast and we are soooooo glad we were able to make it!

November 17, 2009

In FOUR Days!

In four days we will take off on one of three planes that will bring us to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In six days, she will be in our arms forever! And 12 days she will be on U.S. soil! I can not explain how we feel right now. The excitement is outrageous. The joy is tremendous. The anxiety is beginning to set in! I feel such a love for little Marley, my heart could burst. I'm very very emotional right now. I think of seeing her for the first time. I see the room, the sofa, the empty open doorway, and then I see a blurred face carrying a bundle in her arms walking towards us. I feel the tears pouring down my face and the burning in my heart. The day we get to meet our daughter! I'm then overtaken by the emotional meeting of her Amaye. The things I want to say to her. The love I want to express. The questions I want to ask. All starting in just four days...

November 10, 2009

My Silly Doubt

Many times in my life's journey I have doubted people. I have wanted things in my time and in my way. Oh how I have questioned God and His divine purpose for my life, His will and His timing. Then I get a big fat I told you so thrown in my face. Okay, so it's not that dramatic. It's more of a loving reminder that He is in control. I soooooo don't like hearing that. It's true, I know it, but please PLEASE don't remind me. I get So back to my silly doubt.
If you are new to my blog, a new blog stalker, welcome! For y'all seasoned folk, you know I get all emotional, complain and then WHAM, we are given His favor and then I feel so grateful and a little embarrassed. Recently, I was worried about travel arrangements and childcare. Our original travel date was postponed by two weeks. It sucked, I complained. Then things started to fall into place. We were assigned a new travel date, which happened to be better for Brandon to take off of work, My in-laws are able to come up and take care of Miles, and we get to spend Thanksgiving in Ethiopia! Silly me. I doubted God's timing, His plan and then He showed
I am a work in progress. He is teaching me everyday. Recently, I've had a new worry. I haven't shared it with anyone. It's just been something that I secretly was worried about. My last post was asking for donations for Marley's orphanage. I didn't want to bother people with this, it's just something that we are passionate about. The last thing I wanted to do was guilt someone into helping out. I wanted to offer the opportunity to others to share in the blessing of giving. I know not everyone is passionate about our passion, I just wanted to put it out there. So right after I hit post on my blog, I immediately felt worry. Worry what people were going to think about me asking for orphanage donations, worrying if anyone would respond, worried about how we would make up the difference if no one offered anything. In a little way, I doubted that anyone would want to help, so I guess I doubted God for making this happen. We are allowed four 50lbs. bags, before additional fees, and I worried that we wouldn't have enough to meet that....haha! Oh my silly doubt!
So I have received emails from other adoptive parents, who are mailing items. I have friends of friends gathering things and buying medications. It touches me, it sincerely touches me. I am again wondered at the way God works in/through people to get things done. And I am again embarrassed to have doubted it!

November 5, 2009

We Have a Travel Date!

We are leaving in two weeks! The day after my birthday! AND, we will be spending Thanksgiving in Ethiopia. What a wonderful birthday present and appropriate holiday to spend getting our daughter! Marley will have just turned six months old. Her suitcase is all packed, well repacked after a trip to Target!
Our trip is totally in God's hands. It's so crazy and amazing how he orchestrates everything. We were so worried about getting to her and about being delayed another two weeks. It ended up being the perfect timing for childcare. My in-laws will be coming up to Springfield to take care of Miles. He is sooooo thrilled. I'm also excited to actually have a fan club waiting for our return in the airport...haha! Sweet Marley. Precious baby!
We will get to visit Marley's orphanage where she came from and hope to bless the pants off of them with donations. Some of the items they need are:
  • toys
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • socks and underwear (new)
  • coloring books, crayons
  • cloth diapers
  • blankets
  • bottles
  • formula
  • Children's Medications (Tylenol, etc.)
  • Band Aids
  • Thermometers
  • Toothbrushes/Toothpastes
  • jump ropes
  • coats, jackets and sweaters
If you would like to contribute any of these items for us to take, we'd love to share this opportunity, to be giving, with you. We are allowed four bags up to 50 lbs. Additional bags, we will handle the fees associated with them. We do ask that items be gently used or new. If you are in Springfield, please let me know if you would like to donate any of these items and I would gladly pick them up. If you are out of the area and would like to make a monetary donation, I will see to it that it is used to purchase needed items. November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and God calls us to care for his children and those in need. I really hope that you all, my friends and family, are able to share in the joy of giving and help us to show appreciation for the orphanage that helped nurse our sweet baby to health and brought her to us!

You can contact me at

October 30, 2009


Consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. James 1:2-4

Joy. That is something my heart and soul have been filled with, joy! Even when I didn't appear to be filled with joy, I have always had joy deep down in my heart. I am so thankful and filled with joy to have a outstanding, faithful and compassionate husband. Miles is the light of my life! He's growing into a sweet, caring and forgiving young boy. These two boys are my joy. Nothing compared to the joy my God has given me, but yet joy. My God forgave me when I never thought I could be forgiven, He gave me a new life. A second, third, fourth chance. After living a not so joyous life, He forgave me and gave me a new one. How amazing is that?
He also brought us to adoption, to my little Marley. What a joy! The love I have for her is so deep, and uniquely profound.
Our journey to Marley as not been an easy one. I have fallen to my knees in desperation, cried in anger and frustration. I have rejoiced in seeing her face. I sang praises! Seeing her picture brought me out of a funk. It renewed my faith, and helped me to see that God is fulfilling His end of deal, not in my time, but His. Boy do I not like hearing that! So back to the scripture. I have leaned on this scripture throughout our journey. I know that I should find joy in everything. I am not perfect, so it has been difficult. Instead of exhibiting a joyous attitude, I would wallow my frustration with the process. I learned from that. I am still learning from that.
Recently, we passed court and were told to expect to travel for the November 12th embassy appointment. Oh my the joy! Diapers, formula and last minute supplies were purchased and her suitcase is packed. Arrangements had been made and we were finally seeing an end to this journey and longing to be with our baby. It seems as if our faith is being tested yet again. There is another delay. Not much longer, but yet again. Man, there is nothing like hyping yourself up to finally seeing this child we have yearned for for years and then to be told, "not yet." We have been told to expect to travel over Thanksgiving. Again, it is all tentative and won't be confirmed until 1-2 weeks before. I am really working on finding the joy in this.
God has given us this path to complete our family. We are honored that he has given us Marley, truly honored and appreciative. The least we could do is trust Him the rest of the way and to find joy in it.

October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Miles

It's so hard to believe that my little man is five years old today! What a ham! He is his father's son, that's for sure. Here is a recent picture of Miles and a picture of Brandon when he was about five. Crazy the resemblance. I hear a lot of people tell me that Miles looks just like me. I can see it, but I really think it's more because he's got a little of my coloring. He definitely has his daddy's features. I love this kid!
We haven't received word on travel confirmation. We were told we may not know until a week before. Still hoping to bring her home in November! So here's the recent picture of my little princess! I think they had just told her that she became a Hyman! Look at those gums!

October 23, 2009


Today we found out that little Marley became a Hyman! Travel is still not confirmed, but should be in the next 2-3 weeks. We are elated, and as is our baby girl!

October 21, 2009

Am I Really Doing This?

I'm researching travel arrangements! Seriously, it's right here! If all goes well on Friday, and then we are able to get into the November 12th Embassy appointment, we will be traveling in less than 3 weeks! Seriously! I've gotten some rates from a travel agent and done some of my own research. We can't confirm until we have confirmed travel dates through our agency, which can be only a week in advance! We knew that it would happen, but wow! My heart is bursting with excitement, love, joy and hope! My baby could be home in less than a month! My baby!
Back to my prayer list. Please, my friends, we have some prayer requests! We have learned the power of prayer and right now we need an army to help us finish this thing! It is almost done. Please add these to your prayers:
  • A successful court date on Friday (our Thursday night)
  • For our in country representative to be diligent in getting our paperwork and other items needed for court and for our Embassy appointment
  • For us to be able to get into the November 12th Embassy Appointment
  • For our childcare situation with Miles (we have a few options, but we need some of the details worked out)
  • For GREAT flight rates (we can try, right? lol!)
As you all know we have want our baby home, and it's a long time coming! We appreciate your positive thoughts, love and prayers. I am so excited to be able to give Marley her grand introduction to y'all on Friday!

October 20, 2009

Halloween 2009

Miles likes to make people laugh. When it comes to Halloween costumes, there's no such things as superheros for this kid! Last year, when we couldn't find a chicken costume for a four year old, he wanted to be a hot dog. And that he was! Such a hit. Well this year, he decided he wanted to be a sandwich. I tried to convince him to choose a store bought costume, but no, he insisted on a sandwich costume. Well guess what? Google sandwich costumes and you'll see that they don't exist! Well if you don't count the $1200 jumbo size Subway style costume. So off I went, and I have to say, I think it turned out good!

The Nursery

As our court date approaches, we are preparing for our little addition. Marley's room is just about complete. I made her crib skirt and her curtains and of course her framed name art. We love her room and can't wait for her to be in it. Recently, Miles had some neighborhood friends over and they walked into Marley's room and asked who's room it belonged to. I told them it was Miles' little sister's room. They stood there puzzled and asked, "is she asleep?" I said no. Then they asked if she was sleeping at her Grandma's house. I said, "no." Then the eldest girl asked, "then where is she?" I said she lives very far away and we hope to have her home soon. I wasn't sure how to explain adoption to a 6 year old. It's always been a subject in our house, so I haven't really had to explain it to another child. I suppose I should be! Well, I think I totally confused her and she probably went home concerned about the child that has a room, but isn't in it.
So here is Miss Marley's room! I'm so proud of the crib skirt and LOVE the pattern.

October 19, 2009

COURT DATE October 23rd!!!

We just received notification that our court date will be Friday, October 23rd! In FOUR days! If all goes well, we will officially be the parents of a 5 month old beautiful baby girl! There are many variables that have to happen for our court hearing to be successful. Please pray for a smooth and successful hearing and that all people and paperwork be in order and in attendance. Oh, and pray that the power is on!
Our tentative travel date to pick up Miss Marley is on or around November 8-15th. A lot depends on the outcome of our court hearing and if we are able to get into our agencies scheduled embassy appointment day of November 12th. We were given the go ahead to start planning out our flight arrangements! We can't finalize them until travel dates are confirmed, which could be 1-2 weeks before. AHHHHH....I can't believe we could have her home in the next four weeks! YAY! All we could do is thank God that he has heard our cries and has given us some favor! Thank you God!
I can't believe that I may be able to post her beautiful face up for the world to see, in just four days!

October 14, 2009

She's Five Months Old

Our precious girl is five months old! We are closer and closer to her everyday! As of today, we heard of a family that successfully passed court. That means that the courts are, in deed, open! Our petition for a court date was turned in prior to the court closing in August and we anticipate an email notifying us of our court date any day. We also anticipate an October court date, and November travel.
I'm sure you have learned by now, that nothing is a sure thing in adoption. I have been saying that we should have a call any day for over a year. I know that it is like crying wolf, I understand that. Hope is all we have. Hope that we will have a court date any day. Hope that we pass court sometime in October and hope that we have our little girl in our arms in November. Hope. We can't give anyone a for sure date. We can only hope and pray it is soon. There have been days when my hope has seemed to be gone, but it was there. It was just hard to see over my frustration and bitterness. My hope is my God and my Marley. I know He will bring her to us and I am learning more than ever to trust in Him and His plan!

October 7, 2009

It's October...

October is here. The Ethiopian courts have opened, however, they are in training. We expect them to be back and functioning next week. So, hopefully we will have our court date sometime next week. Initially, we were told that we could travel in late October. It looks like we are now looking at a November travel time. It's a little discouraging. We know that it's going to happen. It's just a little frustrating. Our little one will turn 5 months next week. What a great day to be issued a court day, right?!
Her room is coming right along. Pictures will be posted soon.

September 23, 2009

Meeting Tsegay and Almaz

These wonderful people are in charge of House of Hope. House of Hope is the home where Marley is right now, waiting for us. Tsegay and Almaz came to the United States on vacation and we drove up to St. Louis to show our pretty faces, and get to meet the people who get to love on Marley! This couple is so humble and genuinely passionate about caring for orphans. After meeting them, we found out that our paperwork HAS been submitted for a court date! As soon as the courts reopen, we should be assigned a date. If all goes as planned, he said we could possibly travel at the end of October! Okay, that is like five weeks away. OMG! Seriously, that really is such amazing news. Now, we do understand that a lot of things are out of our control, but we are really finally coming up! AHHHHHH!
I also got to see one of my very best adoption mommies in St. Louis. Missy and I had a blast and are really hoping to travel together! Her little one and Marley share the same Nanny!

Here is a picture of our Ethiopian food, half eaten. It was so beautiful, we just dug in and then decided to take a picture. We have some kind of beef, chicken and vegetable. It was all served with Injera, a spongy type of tortilla. Very yummy!

September 19, 2009

The Crib

Brandon surprised me the other night, by pulling out the crib! I looked over and there he was, in Marley's room and had all the crib pieces out and ready to assemble. My man, he is such a find! This is our first real step towards preparing for her arrival. Miles has been getting very anxious to meet his little sister and assisted in the crib building. The bed set will be changing, we are still staying pretty simple with the bedding.
Call us crazy, well I suppose we are a little bit crazy, but regardless you'll be confirming it after this! We have a pretend! Someone passed on pretend Marley to us as somewhat of a joke and well here she is.
I always said that I would be dressing Marley up in bows bigger than her head. Here is the beginning of that! I hit up a craft sale today and got a great deal on a few starters! Miles thinks pretend Marley is great. Here is him putting her in her new crib....hilarious I know!
As of yet, we still do not have a court date, but remain optimistic that it will be in mid October with possible travel in November. We have learned that when it comes to adoption, to expect the unexpected, so we know things may come up. We still remain hopeful! If all goes as planned, Marley will be home around the time she turns six months old.

**If these pictures are disturbing to you please know that we do not carry around pretend Marley to the store, bath her or try to feed her. She is just a funny little doll...haha**

September 13, 2009

Happy Four Months Marley!

She's already four months! Man that went by fast. All the pictures and videos have kept us up to date and seeing her grow is so cool. Marley's cheeks are filling in and she seems to be developmentally growing as well. All the little coo's just melt my heart. It's just so amazing that in about two months our daughter will be home. I know I keep saying that, but it's just so freaking cool! She got her little blanky that we had made for her and we get to see her with it! Here is us with it before it was sent to Ethiopia.
Happy Four Months Baby!

August 29, 2009

It's Time to Start Nesting!

The joy in my heart is amazing right now. Those days of pain and disappointment are over. I won't forget how it felt to wait to find out who our daughter was and to see her face, but that is all a memory now. I thank God for the journey to Marley and I thank God that it is almost over. I recall hearing other adoptive parents claim how it all just disappear and you just forget the wait when you hold your child for the first time. While we aren't there yet, we definately feel relief. That pain has been filled with utter joy! We have a daughter, a real life baby girl that is waiting for us! She is just amazing and this heart if about to burst with love and joy! She is on this earth and is sleeping under the same sky that we are sleeping baby! Just amazing!
I went to a baby shower today, the first time in a while and it brought me to joyful tears. I too have a little one coming soon. I shared in my friends happiness today in my own little way. It made me realize that I am way behind. Some of my adoption friends laughed when they saw my "nursery." Okay, so here it is.
You can stop I have been avoiding preparing her room to prevent an emotional breakdown. I didn't want to have a nursery to look at everyday for a year. Whew, that would just kill me. But today, I realized that chances are Marley will be here in about two months. That's not very long! If I was pregnant, I would have already started the nursery. I get excited easily, no secret. If I were a dog, I'd be the one jumping up and down and peeing when company came. And today, the idea of Marley coming home kicked in.
So in the next few weeks, I'll be setting up the crib and getting my baby girl's room ready. YAY!

August 23, 2009

Some Family Time

We recently traveled to Oklahoma and Arkansas for a funeral and spent some great quality time with some family. While we would have loved to travel under better circumstances, we did enjoy our time. Miles spent time with his baby cousin, Jordan. We don't have a lot of little ones in our family and time with Jordan was amazing. Miles was the baby prior to Jordan, who is 18 months old. He is just a ham!
Brandon and his mother take such great pictures together. And so do I....LOL! She's the hottest mother in law I've ever had...hah!
We have some beautiful women in our family!
We were Aunt Tammy's house and wanted a group picture, but couldn't figure out who was going to take the picture. So I figured out, after six years of owning my digital camera, how to set the timer. It was so much fun setting the timer and running to get in the picture, that I think more self timer pictures are to come!

We found out this past weekend that Marley is now at our agency's transition home. There she will get great care, and we are more at ease knowing she is finally there. We also got some updated pictures from a family that just recently traveled. She was sleeping and her lips were just puckered up, I can't wait to kiss all over them! The Ethiopian courts closed last week and will open in the first of October. We will get our court date sometime after they open. We are still anticipating an October court date and travel in late October to early November. Nothing is guaranteed, but we can always hope!