; Our Joyful Blessings: 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009


On this Thanksgiving Day, I took a minute to reflect on all the blessings we've received throughout this year. I'm thankful for so many things. I'm mostly thankful for my family and friends, for God allowing me to raise His precious children, for my loving husband, and for having the opportunity of traveling to Ethiopia and experiencing my daughter's culture.

I'm especially thankful for God allowing our family to be together on this wonderful day.

May your day be filled with joy and happiness. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ok, It's the Boys Turn

Here they are.....

New Pictures

I took some new pictures of Anaya yesterday. I'm playing around with photography, when I have time... LOL....
I think these turned out pretty nice... Today, I'm thinking about taking some of the boys.. I'll post them next week.

Mandy starts soccer tomorrow and Anaya on Tuesday. This means that I'll be on the practice field Monday - Thursday for at least an hour and a half every day... So, I'll post when I can...

Monday, November 9, 2009

First School Picture

Just received J.R.'s pre-k pictures for fall. I had to post my favorite for all to see.. He's such a cutie pie.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bad Blogger!!

I admit I've been a very bad blogger lately. I apologize for not keeping our family blog updated but it's been really difficult to find some "me" time lately. By the time I'm done with homework, baths and dinner it's usually really too late to sit and type about anything. Anyhow here's an update of what our family has been up to:

The girls and I went and visited Aunt Jill for three days in October. Anaya got to meet all the kids and I finally met Gabriel (Oh my goodness what a gorgeous child)!!!

Alexis turned 11 on October 27th.

We have a new puppy, he's a tiny Maltese 12 weeks old and his name is Casper.

Anaya's re-adoption or "domestication of foreign adoption" was completed on November 5th!!! She's officially Anaya and she's officially 10!!!!

Julian has grown about 2 inches in less than six months. He's two years old and is 37 1/2 inches tall and weighs a whooping 38.5 lbs!

J.R. started the Voluntary Pre Kindergarten program, which means he goes to school from 9:00 am and finishes at 12:00 noon. He's working on learning how to write his name!

The kids all took swimming lessons and now all know how to swim, yes, this includes Julian and J.R. Julian is an awesome swimmer, the boy has a mean front stroke! It's really funny to watch him swim, he's super strong and hardly kicks his feet, his upper body just propels him... It's the cutest thing to watch.

Well, that kinda brings everyone up on what's going on... We are very happy that Anaya has blended so well with the family and hasn't had any issues adjusting to us. We are all in awe of how she's done. She's almost at grade level and is enjoying everything moment of everyday!

I promise to post some pictures sometime next week. I even have a cute little video of Julian and J.R. swimming!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

School Update

My very courageous daughter has made it through her fourth day of school. This child does not cease to amaze me in so many ways. She went to school on Monday with her uniform shirt nicely pressed (as she requested) she brushed her hair just so making sure all her curls were perfectly placed. I took her into the school's administrative office meet with the student counselor and proceeded to her classroom. She was as nervous as a ten year old who is entering unchartered waters would be.

We entered her 3rd grade classroom while the class was in the middle of "circle time". The counselor opened the door and the room became very quiet. The counselor announced her arrival, the teacher welcomed Anaya and Anaya proceeded to say "hello everyone". She is amazing!!!!

Today was her fourth day of school and her second week with a private tutor. She LOVES school, her teacher and her new friends. She floats around the house singing and dancing. Yesterday, she asked me if I had any cards... I didn't understand what she meant by cards so I asked her what she meant. She asked for a card so she could give it to her teacher and write some things she was feeling. (Can you say AMAZING CHILD???) I had several blank greeting cards and gave her one. She wrote IN ENGLISH to her teacher, she thanked her for being so nice to her and said she was lucky to have her as her first American teacher.

I'm in awe of what God has given our family. Yes, there are some challenges we are working on helping her with. But, overall, everything seems to be falling into place.

I just want everyone out there to know that adopting an older child does have its challenges but the rewards are so much greater than the challenges! I really never thought that her transition would happen so smoothly. I encourage anyone thinking of adopting an older child to really consider it. These children deserve forever families that will love them unconditionally.

Monday, September 28, 2009


We had an amazing weekend with the girls in NYC. We met up with one of Anaya's closest friends from Layla House. Her name is Beza and she's been home with her family for a year now. This precious young lady is not only beautiful but sweet and kind. It made my weekend to see how much they loved each other. They had not seen each other since Beza left last year. I don't think they thought they would ever see each other again, but they will be able to see each other at least once or twice a year. Beza's grandmother lives very close to us and they visit her during the holidays. Seeing the girls enjoy each other's company was just fantastic. We meet up at the condo then had lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen and on to Dillan's Candy Shop. They truly had a wonderful time.

The next day we went to see the Lion King on Broadway. We took the girls to Time Square and visited that amazing Toys R Us with a great big ferris wheel smack in the center of it. After the play we took them to dinner.

We had a wonderful trip but the best and most memorable part was spending time with Beza and her amazing family. Thanks guys for meeting up with us it was great to meet you!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pictures Of Our Family

I have lots to be thankful for. But, I must say, that God had truly blessed me with my family and friends. I have so much to share. I'll start off by posting pictures of our newest family member Miss Anaya, she turned ten years old on the 19th and we celebrated her birthday at Disney World.

Here are some pictures of our wonderful four days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm sorry I've been such a horrible blogger. I opened the blog up once again to all readers. We are done, finished, completed, terminado with our Ethiopian adoption and our beautiful daughter is ours and she's HOME.

I returned on from Ethiopia on August 29th and spent a total of six days there. I'm happy to say that Anaya is doing fabulously. She is adjusting very well. We just celebrated her 10th birthday on the 19th!!

I'll go ahead and start blogging continually and keeping our family blog as up to date as possible. Anaya is now legally our daughter so there is no need for our blog to be private any longer!!!! I will be catching up on pictures of our beautiful children.

I'm going to work on a new header adding our daughter Anaya to it!!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ethiopia Is Knocking On My Door!!!

I haven't been able to update our blog lately. We have been extremely busy. We're having our flooring redone and had to find alternative accommodations until the project is completed. Try juggling this and preparing for a major life changing trip. Can you say "TOTAL CRAZINESS?"

We have managed to collect a ton of donations I'd say about 300 lbs of school supplies, feminine hygiene products, deodorants, hair accessories, coloring books, crayons, craft kits, candy and baby formula.

We were able to pack most of it into our five checked bags. We're going to carry our clothes and Letarik's clothes in our carry on baggage in order to take as much of the supplies as possible to the orphans. The rest of it will be shipped to our agency upon my return.

I'm excited, nervous and anxious. I have a list of 35 families that have requested pictures and videos of their children at the orphanage. I'm taking two cameras and my brand new HD video camera. I'm planning on taking lots of pictures and footage.

Please pray for our trip to be a safe one. The next time I post I will have my beautiful daughter HOME.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday To My Big Boy!!!!

I still remember the day they placed my son J.R. into my arms for the very first time. He was 10 months old and all of 12 lbs, shaved head, big ears wearing a "South Beach" tshirt, blue pants and sneakers two sizes too small (basically newborn shoes). I remember thinking "oh my gosh" this baby looks nothing like the pictures I was given, but he looked at me the very first time, studied my face and just smiled. I knew then we would have a very special bond and I was so right. I posted our first picture together and one taken today!

My son is now four years old has been home three and a half years and weighs 34 lbs. He's happy, healthy, tender, caring, smart and well I can go on forever. He is one special little boy with a really big heart. I can't describe how much I love him, there are just no words to explain how I feel. I can just thank the Lord above that He chose us to be his parents. Thank you my dear God for giving me this very special gift.

He wanted Alexis (our 10 year old) to bake his cake and so she did! LOL... When he blew out his candle he wished for "snow"??? Yeah, in Florida no less... LOL... Well, maybe he'll get his wish when we take him back to North Carolina for a visit in the winter!

Anyhow here are some pictures of my beautiful child...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Have Travel Dates!

We received our Embassy appointment date today, it's set for August 26th. This means I will be leaving on Saturday, August 22nd and will arrive in Ethiopia at 7pm the next day! I don't know how I'm going to survive so many hours in the air. I HATE flying and this is just one of those darn fears I've never been able to overcome very well.

The one thing that makes me ok with the entire flying situation is knowing that I will be able to finally meet our daughter and be done with the process!

I will be staying at our agency's guesthouse called Ritmo. They will be picking me up on Monday morning and taking me to the orphanage. Letarik will be able to stay with me from Tuesday on. They have had better experiences with kids spending the day with their new parents on the first day and going to the guest house on the second day.

I'll be taking some donations for the orphanage. They are requesting jeans and sneakers for kids ranging from 5 years to 14 years of age.

I'm excited and nervous!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrating Our Daugther

We Passed She's Our Daughter!

Yes, miracles do happen, we PASSED court on our first try! Letarik is officially our daughter! All the prayers were heard and He delivered His devine blessing to our family.

We are extremely blessed to have passed court on oujr first try. All her documents had to be in perfect order, her birth mother had to be present, the MOWA letter had to be signed and approved and there had to be electrical power in order to have her case heard. God provided His blessing and all these important steps were accomplished. Our agency had many families pass court on Monday and Tuesday, so we must rejoice and thank Him for allowing this to happen.

She will now need to take a TB test, an Embassy appointment must be made, a new birth certificate assigned and I'll be able to travel to pick up my beautiful daughter! The agency seems to think we should be able to travel sometime in August.

We also received two more letters from Letarik today. She wrote one to me and another to her dad. She keeps asking for us to go to Ethiopia soon, that she loves us and loves her family. I can't wait to hold her and give her a huge hug!

Both my husband and I are home with the flu but this news makes everything else seem so unimportant!

Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Less than 8 Hours To Go!

Well our Ethiopian court date is quickly approching. Several families from our agency had their court hearings today. I've read about five posts on our agency yahoo group which posted great news of their passing court and three other families that did not.

There was also an email for our agency owner sent out today that stated that the electrical power situation is currently averaging an outage "every other day" so please pray for a miracle and pray that there is power in Addis tomorrow!

Praying for our daughter to be in our arms very soon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Letters Straight From An Angel

Opened our mailbox today and was greeted with a very pleasent surprise. There was an 8x10 envelope addressed to Juan and I. This could only be one thing (a letter from Letarik), well I was wrong, there were FIVE letters from our beautiful daughter.

She wrote to her sisters, her dad and to me. She made her sisters bracelets made her dad a manly looking one (with blue and yellow beads) and made me a beautiful purple necklace. She said mentioned she loved us about a zillion times and also traced her foot on a piece of paper for me. See she wants to make sure I get her the correct size in shoes when I pick her up! She is a total RIOT!

She said she was waiting for me to go to Ethiopia and she wants me to go now. She wrote a letter to Juan that asked "Dad are you going to Ethiopia too?" "Can you please adopt my two friends they don't have a family"..... OMGosh this girl is amazing!

Anyhow, what a wonderful surprise just three days before our court date. God please help our case pass court on Tuesday!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faith Must Prevail!

Seven Day Count Down

Our soon to be daughter’s adoption case will be heard in an Ethiopian court in just seven short days. As I ponder the possibilities of our court decision, my newly found faith takes over. Just a few short years ago I would have prayed for our case to pass and my prayers would focus on my personal wants, needs and agenda. All those self wanting needs have turned to something different. I now pray for the Lord to place His all-mighty hands on our case and to allow our case to pass if it is His perfect time for her to join our family within a few months.

Many things have become very clear to me in the last few months. The first would be that He has guided our lives towards adoption. He has ensured that I witness His true miracles in so many ways. Our two son’s adoptions were done because of His will. I struggled with our son J.R.’s delayed case, my need to be in total control, but He needed that to happen so I would establish a wonderful relationship with the attorney during that drooling hurtful wait. I later assisted this Guatemalan attorney with the placement of TEN Guatemalan children including my son Julian without the use of an agency.

Our decision to adopt from Ethiopia was surprising to many of our friends and family (they should have learned to never underestimate us!) Our family is large we both have extremely demanding professional careers and care for handicapped parents. However, the Lord touched us and once again, and we responded by requesting to adopt an infant girl. Our initial plans were shaken up when He again spoke to me and lead me to an older waiting child. The idea adopting an older child was something I would have NEVER considered several years ago. The possibility of raising a pre-teen with possible attachment issues would not have “fit” into MY plans.

Well, here we are today, as I sit here praying for Him to place His hands on our adoption and that He affords me the opportunity of traveling to Africa to met and bring home our 11 year old daughter. He, however, wanted me to understand that this was not about me. Once again, He directs my attention to the fact that this is His plan and not ours. On Sunday night I received a wonderful woman that adopted Letarik’s friend in Ethiopia. She was someone that I had met via our agency’s yahoo group and have been communicating with since we began our adoption. She has afforded me valuable information, has sent me amazing pictures of our daughter and has been a great source of support. Well, she advises me that she received a phone call from a family asking her about older children adoptions. She wrote that this family had fallen in love with a waiting child at the beginning of this year. They had begun their paperwork when tragedy struck their family. They suffered a devastating house fire that required their adoption be placed on hold! Guess who the child they feel in love with was? Yes, that’s right it was Letarik! They diligently prayed for God to find this girl a family that would be able to proceed with her adoption. This happened April 2nd and we accepted her referral April 10th. God’s hand was all over this!!!!

I was provided that families blog addy www.ifyoutrulybelieve.blogspot.com and was told to read their entry. My best friend (sister) had posted a prayer request in her amazing blog. This family had found her blog and read that prayer and were shocked to find that Letarik now had a family waiting to bring her home. I was able to email them and provided them some closure. They are now finishing their home repairs and actively trying to complete their home study process as they are still going to proceed with an older girl adoption. The daughter God wants them to have.

So, yes, as I sit anxiously awaiting our June 30th court date, I ask for everyone's prayers and I remind myself that His perfect plan will overcome anything. She will join our family on His perfect timing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We Have A Court Date - Prayers Needed!!!!

Friday was a wonderful day for our family. Our agency advised us that we have a scheduled court date for Letarik's case to be heard. Our BIG day will be June 30th, we will know if we are officially her parents by the end of that day.

We are asking all our friends and family to please keep us in your prayers. It seems as if lots of cases are not passing on their first try at court. The Ministry Of Womens Affairs (MOWA) in Ethiopia must review the case before the scheduled court date and must write a recommendation/approval letter. This letter must be in the file before the case is heard or your case will not pass court, additionally, her birth mother must be present in order for her to pass court. She has been at Layla House for almost two years and I have not idea if her birth mother will be found easily.

If you don't pass court the agency must reschedule the case for another court hearing. So, if we don't pass court this time around we may still have time to have our case heard one last time before court closures. Ethiopian courts close from August till October, due to the rainy season so we would need to wait till Ocotber to have our case heard again!

Our family was lead to this child and this was done by His hand. We know God wanted us to find her and we are giving this to Him. We pray for her to come home at His perfect time. What is perfect for us may not be what is perfect for Him! I have learned to let go and breath. This is a true testament to my faith and how I've grown as a believer.

I do ask for your thoughts and prayers. I can't wait to have the ability of being Letarik's mom!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Hi everyone,

Let me start by apologizing for not keeping my blog up to date. I've been distracted by many things mainly keeping up with Julian who is a total handful and also by our pending adoption. Julian is a crazy kinda kid. He is a chubby guy but man is he agile!!! I try and spend all of my free time with the kids rather than online.

I had foot surgery on Friday. I had a bunion on the side of my foot that kept getting worse by the day. I decided to bite the bullet and have the surgery. Everyone kept telling me how painful that was see a bunion is nothing more than calcium build up on the bone so the bone needs to be shaved and the ligaments on your toes need to be tightened. Let's just say that it HURTS like nothing I've ever felt before! I've been in bed since Friday and with my foot up and iced down. I'm on pain meds so I'm not responsible for any misspelling on this post ok! I'm hoping to be better in a few days.

Now for the best news of all... We have been assigned to a Group. We are part of GROUP M. Our agency assigns you to a group once your dossier has been submitted to court. This basically means we have been approved to adopt in Ethiopia and now we will be assigned a court date (we should have the date withing the next two weeks). We are estimating that our court date will be for sometime in the end of June or the very beginning of July. Then we will need to pass court. This is challenging in itself. Your birth mother will need to be present and all the documents will need to be in perfect order. If we pass court we will be able to travel to pick her up in about six weeks. That would be a miracle and oh so sweet!!!! Please pray for us and pray for all things to line up just perfectly so she can be home soon.

I have left everything to Him, I know God wanted us to find her and He will have her home in His perfect time.

I did receive some new pictures of her and she has sent us four letters with traveling families. She is a wonderfully sweet girl. She has asked for me to go get her as soon as I can. I felt so helpless when I read that line. I wish I was able to jump on a plane and bring her home tomorrow. I will really need to dig deep and breath praying for God to give me patience.

So in closing, I have tons of pictures to post but can't get to my Mac to download. Promise to do so sometime this week. As soon as we pass court, I will post tons of pictures of our new daughter.

I will be posting our court date as soon as we know when it will be and asking for your prayers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day To Everyone!

I want to wish all the Mothers a very happy Mothers Day.

Our family spent the day at the beach on Saturday. The kids had a marvelous time playing in the sand and bathing in the ocean water. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy watching my kids have fun with each other. They even got to throw some sand on J.R. who is a little bit on the OCD clean freak side... LOL.... He says he was made into a man mermaid.. That was so cute!

Here are some pictures of our day at the beach.