Fifth day and last visit with Haben until we come back to get him in approximately 8-12 weeks…this is going to be hard.

As I walked into the baby room at the Care Center, as usual, my little guy cries
when he sees me. At least I can laugh a little because I am getting used to it. He was dressed adorable! Suprising attire for orphange wear…button down with necktie and dress shoes. The nannies are sweet to dress him up for me on my last day. I am
so curious who donated that outfit and love that they did!

We played awhile and then headed upstairs to see the big kids who are my buddies at this point. We brought strawberry ice cream to share and it was enjoyed by all. The Nannies
had on the Ethiopian music video channel. We joined the kids and attempted to dance, trying to learn the moves. Haben watched me as he finished his ice cream. (He wanted to feed himself…darn. And the outfit was so cute oh well.) Finally, he let me
pick him up to dance. It was close to nap time though and the dancing turned into swaying as I noticed he was getting sleepy. I was thrilled when he passed out on my chest, a wonderful ending really to a wonderful week with him. I was a bit sad I didn't
officially say goodbye or get to tell him somehow I would be back but it was sweet to lay him down and cuddle for a minute. God please let him know I love him and I'll be back soon to bring him home forever!

Posted on January 31, 2011

Jeanie's email to me from Africa:

Breakthrough Day ….at first

When we arrived at the care center today Haben was asleep on the bed. Soo cute. He must have gotten up early.
(Did I mention he's called Ha ben here with a short a sound? as we suspected.)
I got to enjoy other babies while watching him sleep…precious. There is a picture I'm sending of the little malnourished one's hand in mind. He
is a sweetie. Hope he finds a home. No objective with that comment.

Haben woke up and I was prepared for the usually crying but he seemed just fine about me being there. We got right to playing. This made me feel great and I felt
we really had great progress day four because of this. There's a picture of him in a pile of toys on the bed. Spoiled already…the other kids are just sitting around really without much and he looks like the prince. Oh, and by the way, don't
even think about coming near any of the toys other babies or he'll let you know (they all seem to be aware he's the baby in charge down there). There is another picture of him whining to me about someone taking his backpack as I come to the
rescue of course.

We played awhile and then he decided he's not sure about me again. I try to get him upstairs..another nanny has to help. And guess whos upstairs…his favorite nanny. I'm done for the day. I sat by him
as he played on her cell phone trying to touch him even now and then but he fusses at me. I got my hair done by Lettamasket and the other girls there. Apparently, it was get your hair braided day because the whole gang was busy braiding. I look hilarious.
Haben thought it was interesting. I forgot we told our driver we would only stay a few hours today, not sure why. When the van pulled up and honked, I started to cry. It's official…I'm in love. I've officially attached myself to him…hope
he's gonna come around sometime with me. Tomorrow is my last day to see him for at least 8 weeks. Getting sad. Happy to get back home to my wonderful husband and sweet kids though.

Can't wait for you to come to Africa. I
am changed forever. The poverty is so evident. The people are so respectful, happy and appreciate of the nothing they have. Love u.

Posted on January 30, 2011

Super Haben day! He did the usual crying as I came in (oh no not the
one you call mommy again!). Although, it was only 1-2 mins. until he
came to see what
I brought and he sat right next to me!!!!!! The new
backpack I brought was perfect! He played with me for 30-45
minutes!!!! He was even happier today which was wonderful to see!!!
I bounced around with the push balloons
I brought and we had a blast.
He didn't even look for his favorite nanny or need her to help us get
acquainted. We went upstairs together…oops spot the nanny and it was
over. Although, best parts yet, he let
me feed him, sat on my lap
awhile and then even let me snuggle him up on my back for nap!!!!!!!
He did this for 20 mins but then when I tried to add the banket like
the nannies do he wanted his favorite nanny. Oh
well, super day.
Haben is happy….mommy is happiest.

Posted on January 29, 2011

Incredible email received from Jeanie today:

We passed court officially!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats, you are the proud father of a beautiful boy from ethiopia!!!

Posted on January 28, 2011

I woke up this morning to such an amazing, inspirational, exciting email from my wonderful wife entitled,

"met him!"

OMG! I just spent almost 3 hours at the orphange. So amazing! Haben was not too sure about the white ladies visiting him. He cried. He finally settled down and we crashed cars together. The nannies had him hand me a bunch of
things and he did for awhile. I think he liked his picture album of himself. I got him to laugh when I tickled his feet finally and a few kisses on the forehead. I think he liked the treats the best. I finally got him to hold my hand to go out of the
baby room and he let me carry him up the stairs. He would just get nervous about me every now and then and cry. Hopefully the week will help him be more comfortable. I felt a little bad because the babies loved my attention and so did 2 other toddlers.
It's a good thing though that he is attached to others. They go to everyone if they have not learned to attach.

He is absolutely perfect in every way. He seems very comfortable
with his new nannies and he likes/lets the older girls hold and snuggle him. He was buds with one of Jenny Wagner's daughters (Winter Haven). Can't say enough about how perfect he is. Total peanut. Skinny legs, tiny hands, and African feet
(you know the puffy heel/sole kind). Does not like when others take or get his toys. He has a great pouty face.

Better get off here. Just tried to call you but it didn't go through. Try me in the
next half hour. We are heading to the market at 3.

XOXOXO Love my new son! You are going to die.

Posted on January 27, 2011

I dropped Jeanie and her Mom off at OIA at 11:30AM yesterday and received an email from her today at 3:30PM saying she arrived at the Guest House in Addis Ababa. Approximately 28 hours door to door. Her email read:

honey! I made it. Just got to hotel. The other couple is great.
Flight wasn't bad at all. I'll get calling card in morning. You
could try calling here if you get this soon. Going to bed soon. I
heard Haben
got switched to Addis 2-3 days ago. Leaving to meet him
at 9:00!!!!!!! I'll call u then. Love to the kids.

Gotta run.


I am so excited for Jeanie to meet our little guy. This is truly a lifelong dream come true for her!!!

Posted on January 26, 2011

For REAL??? i am really on my way to Africa? One minute I'm a regular old housewife & Mom, and the next thing you know I'm heading way out of the country to add another cutie to the family. Crazy mixed emotions…I'm leaving my
babies for seven whole days, a first. Not to mention, haven't been away from William for that long either. He so doesn't trust me traveling without him. It's such a surreal feeling to do this though. It's a lifelong dream becoming a
reality. But it also feels so guided by God like one of those things you end up doing and not sure how you ever decided to do this. God's plan for our family. I'm just here for the ride. It also occurred to me we'll have four little ones
five and under….Lord stick with me on this wonderful journey your sending me on….please.

Posted on January 25, 2011

December 3, 2010

Ok so don't ask about the title. It's a silly song that's out and I couldn't resist.

So I call any time William and I get out of the house alone a date. I got a crazy
date story for ya. So one day in December we got the in-laws to watch the kids and headed down to the local Health Department. Yep, that's right, I'm calling a trip to the local health department a date. Sometimes you got to make the best of
any situation and time together. Yall with little ones know what I'm talking about. We needed to get several immunizations for our trip to Africa, fun! We did kind of giggle as each one took our turns getting injected. I called it our labor pains
for the adoption. So glad the hubby was finally feeling some labor pains with me this time. It was a pretty funny experience though and I was reminded that William and I can make some fun out of anything. As I look back on this handsome photo of William,
I think the thought that usually enters my mind lately… did I talk him into this one?????

Posted on January 21, 2011

We decided to hold a yard sale fundraiser to help raise money for our costly flights to Africa. (We will need to fly over twice, once for court and then again to pick him up.) An email was sent out to family and friends and the garage
was quickly filled. We were so amazed by the amount of items we collected that were donated by everyone! We even needed to rent a U-Haul to take two trips over to the in-laws where we had the sale. We were so grateful for the help of my in-laws, Sandy
& Bill, my Mom who made the trip over from Clearwater, our friend Polly, and for Dennis Bryson, a friend of the family who donated his time for the entire three days and didn't leave until the last item left the premises!!! We have to mention the
Romanos for the unbelievable furniture that was donated! and the Griffin's furniture as well. We truly felt the love and support of all of our friends and feel we had a record yard sale that will be so helpful in our efforts to bring our new son
home forever! Thanks so much from the bottom of our hearts everyone!

Posted on January 21, 2011

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to even begin… Well, for as long as I could remember, I have always wanted to adopt a child. As a teen I was amazed by families who I knew that had adopted. When William and I were dating and it came up in conversation, he thought
the idea was crazy and definitely not for him. Over time, and after the many blessings of helping raise our sweet Aubrey and having our wonderful twins and precious Mayla, the topic of adopting had somehow come back up. Most conversations would end
in him still thinking I was crazy.

It wasn't until our decision to add one more to the family that got me thinking about the possibility of adoption again. I prayed about our decision and
hoped we were heading in the right direction with having so many blessings already. After a real serious conversation with God one morning, I ran into a girlfriend Heidi at the library. I knew Heidi was planning to adopt a baby from Africa. She introduced
me to her friend, Jessica, there at the library who just had brought home her adorable two girls also from Africa. The coincidence of that morning prayer was in the back of my mind for days.

A total God experience for me happened weeks later after another good talk with God & I about our family planning. I toted all the kids in Publix that morning, only to run into and meet one of the cutest little sweeties ever, Jonas. Jonas
was the baby that Heidi had recently brought home from Ethiopia of which I had no idea he had arrived. I came home and spoke with William and told him my heart felt adopting an orphan was our only choice. We went away for our anniversary to St. Augustine
and it was there where he finally agreed to be open to the idea and to consider adoption. It wasn't confirmed for him until we ran into Heidi and family coincidently soon after St. Augustine, and he met Jonas. God spoke to William in the eyes of
Jonas as he had to me. We went home and started the research and our quest to rescue a life and fill our hearts.

After much reasearch and heart searching, we were guided to Ethiopia as well and the
process began. The picture shows two proud parents sending off their application to the agency in May 2010, the start of an undescribable journey to bring our son to be home

Posted on November 21, 2010

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