Friday, August 31, 2012

More real everyday!

I'm getting more excited every day - if that's even possible! My friends threw me a shower last Sunday - it was so much fun and I was so blessed by everyone who came and all the amazing stuff they showered me with to prepare me for bringing Mihretu home. I am pretty much set with almost everything I need.

The car seat came last night - a gift from my best friend in Michigan. I was so excited - I assembled it and installed it in my car right away. I am now driving around with a car seat! 
It's becoming more real every day. 

I've washed all his 3T clothes since that's the size he's in now. All the 4T and up are hanging up in the guest room closet for when he gets into that size. I've rearranged his room like 10 times, I've hung the paintings I got in Uganda, I've cleared out the kitchen cupboards to make room for sippy cups, plastic plates and bowls and kids utensils. I've moved all cleaning supplies to a top shelf that is unreachable to a toddler, all plug outlets are now covered with those handy dandy protector cover thingys, all his sheets and bedding are washed and I'm picking up any items I still need as well as packing the diaper bag for when I go get him. 

Yup, it's becoming very real. 

And this momma is super excited. 

I can't wait to put on the Ergo carrier that my small group got me and walk through the doors to that airport with my super adorable son strapped to me knowing we are on our way home! It's happening and God gets all the glory. I am SO thankful!!!

Here's some of the recent awesome updates. BTW - all of these steps are happening faster than normal which of course is totally fine by me.

Most Recent Adoption Timeline

  • 8/31/12 Mihretu's passport is here! 1 more step before Embassy - his medical exam next week!
  • 8/28/12 MOWA approval letter received - 1 step closer!
  • 8/25/12 Got a letter in the mail from Show Hope. I am receiving a grant which means I'm pretty much fully funded!!!
  • 8/23/12 Got Mihretu's birth certificate!!! (mailed a check to my agency for $10,000 for the Ethiopia country fee)
  • 8/13/12 The court decree arrives in record time!
  • 8/10/12 After being back in the states since Wed, I get the word that I have officially passed court and I'm legally Mihretu's momma!
  • 8/6/12 The judge agrees and does my parental interview for court while I'm in Ethiopia! (paid $230 for Mihretu's visa while I was there)
  • 8/1/12 See my boy for the first time in a year!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Too excited to sleep!!!

I don't know how I'm supposed to sleep tonight. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Only this is even better. I just have to blog in this moment. I am so excited. I just got home from my friends baby shower and checked my mail to find a letter notifying me that I am going to receive a rather large adoption grant. With the addition of this grant and all the money raised in the last 2 weeks, I think I'm pretty much fully funded (or very close to it). Whoa!!! This is huge!!!! Of course, I won't know the exact amount needed until I know when I'm going to get him and how much the flights are. But I do know that I'm really, really close and it's the most exciting thing ever. As soon as I get the word from my agency that I can go - there's nothing holding me back. Definitely not finances!!!! God is so good. And He truly does provide. Thank you Jesus!

On top of realizing that I'm pretty much ready to go financially speaking, my friends are throwing me a baby shower tomorrow. I've thrown a whole bunch of baby and wedding showers over the years but I can't even describe how excited I am that I get to have one and that ultimately the fact that we're having a shower means one very important thing: this is finally, really happening! My boy is coming home soon!!! Praise the Lord. There will be much joy and celebration tomorrow, that is for sure. 

I feel so blessed, especially this week  - I've been so amazed at the outpouring of support from family, friends and strangers around the world who were commenting on my photos, spreading the word on their facebook pages and encouraging others to donate to help get my sweet boy home. So many have donated. So many have sent me notes of encouragement. So many have been praying.

The Visiting Orphans staff took me to lunch and a movie Friday to celebrate me passing court. And they gave me the book "You are Special" and what they wrote inside is so very special. They wrote the sweetest message to Mihretu. I couldn't read it without crying. It blessed me so much. I cannot wait for him to get here and meet all these amazing people in my life.

So many already love this little boy that I love so very much. I'm seeing the body of Christ in action and I'm seeing the Lord provide in so many neat ways. It's everything you can think of - from several of my friends helping to take care of my dog for free for 2 weeks (that saved me like $600) to some serious blessings in Ethiopia of several nights free lodging to the miraculousness of getting to meet with the judge and do my parental interview while I was already in Ethiopia therefore saving me at least several thousand dollars by avoiding having to book another flight over there. The list goes on. And then there's all of the people I don't even know who have read my blog, saw others posting about my adoption and felt led to give - that blows me away. And on top of all that - there is my amazing group of friends and family who have been celebrating with me and just encouraging me so much throughout this whole process. The prayers alone that have gone up on behalf of this adoption and this child  - more than I can count. Mihretu doesn't even know yet how truly loved he is and how many people have played a part in this adoption and ultimately in his future. Amazing!!! Plus y'all have literally prayed me through - during many months of no movement at all, during discouragement and impatience and wondering if things would ever move. I see God using all of you in this. You are all part of this story. And I'm so glad I have a tree hanging over Mihretu's bed that will display every one of your names. From the bottom of my heart - thank you. I wish you knew just how much you've blessed me and strengthened me during all of this. Words cannot even quite express how I feel. I'm overwhelmed with the goodness and the love that has been poured out. My joy is overflowing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

$10x10 Adoption Fundraiser

It's entering the final trimester of this adoption - yay!!!! I finally passed court and will be going to get my sweet boy within a few months once I get word that visa's, interviews and all is finalized and I have my Embassy appointment. I cannot wait!

In the meantime, there are some adoption costs yet to be raised. So many people have already generously donated so I hesitate to put out another push to fundraise but if you're an adoptive family or you know one - well, then you also know that when it comes to getting your kids home, you can't be shy - you gotta let the need be known. Each person who donates, no matter what the amount, is part of this adoption story and your name will go on the tree I painted that hangs above Mihretu's bed. There are over 75 names already on there!!!!

It takes a village to bring these kids home - a very large, amazingly generous, prayerful, loving village. I am grateful for every one those villagers - past, present and future!!!

So, the next fundraiser is: 
$10x10 Adoption Fundraiser

For every $10 dollars you donate, your name will go into the drawing for this original 36x24 painting "Season of Thanks" by me:) And if you spread the word and tell 10 others and they donate $10 - the donations will multiply super crazy fast and I'll have all the funds needed to bring my sweet son home in no time! The drawing will be one month from today on September 15th!!!! Just click on the donate tab above and for every $10, your name goes into the drawing for this painting and all funds go toward bringing my son home.

Speaking of my sweet boy, I can finally share this photo from the first 30 seconds when I met Mihretu last July. It was instant love!!! I cannot wait to bring him home. He is so precious and full of personality. I can't wait for y'all to meet him in person.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Today is the Day!!!!

This morning I got an email from my adoption agency - I passed court!!! And this whole scenario about me getting to do my parental interview while I was there and court happening like this - he literally said "I have to admit that in the past six years this is a first but it is certainly a wonderful first." Seriously!!! Talk about favor!!! It's all glory to God. To say I'm overjoyed, is an understatement. Now I wait for an Embassy date and then I go bring him home.

So as of today - Friday, August 10th - I am legally my sweet boys momma! And therefore, let me introduce you to my precious son: Mihretu James Samuel Kerr
Photos taken by the amazing Wynne Elder

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Answered Prayers

I just returned home yesterday after a week in Ethiopia with my sweet boy. It's so crazy how everything came together. Let me start from the beginning of how I even happened to be going to visit in the first place.

So like 2 months ago a team leader backed out of leading a Uganda trip. The co-leader hadn't led before so I didn't want to send her to lead by herself, especially with a 28 person team. I prayed about it and felt like I was supposed to co-lead with her. I hadn't scheduled myself to lead any trips in awhile because it's hard to plan ahead when you're adopting because you just never know what could happen and I didn't want to have to back out on a trip. But with only 2 months notice, that was totally doable. So I talked with the co-leader and it became official.

In the meantime, my coworker says to me "you're going to visit your little guy while you're over there right?" to which I replied "we're not going to Ethiopia". To which she replied "yeah but don't you remember - you fly through Ethiopia to get there and back. You should ask your agency if you can see him." Hello! Duh? I totally forgot about us flying through Ethiopia. My agency said sure I can visit and so I made plans to stay behind for a few extra days so I could see my boy after the Uganda trip was over. The flight didn't even cost any extra. Awesome!!!

So even though it had been almost a year and he was still in the orphanage and his paperwork still wasn't done, I started praying big prayers. Prayers that didn't fit in the usual timelines or seem possible. But knowing ALL things are possible with God. I prayed and my exact prayers were answered.

Literally the day I left for Uganda - I got the word. My little man's paperwork was finally done and he had just been moved to my adoption agencies care center. What?????? I was overjoyed, pretty emotional and heading to the airport for the first part of my journey to get to him. I had specifically prayed this would happen and it did. Praise the Lord!!!!

And the answers continued to come. While I was in Uganda, my coworker Merrill texted me one night at 3 am with excited news. I have been submitted for court!!!! Whoa - this is all crazy awesome timing. I also got an email from another mom adopting a little girl around the same age from the same orphanage to tell me she had a court date and would be in Ethiopia while I was there. Her little girl and my little boy are buddies and got moved to the Care Center the same day!!! If she has a court date - I could have one too!!!!!! Oh my goodness.

After an amazing 9 days in Uganda with a great team, myself and my co-leader headed to Ethiopia. Elisa stayed three days and I was supposed to stay 4 and then head home. I was praying for a court date while I was there but found out the day before I was supposed to come home that the judge was requesting an additional document. It was looking less likely I could have court or if I did - it was looking like I might have to extend my stay for awhile and I really needed to get back to work. I called my agency contact in Ethiopia and asked if there was any way the judge would see me on Monday since I'm in town and already have seen my child and then I wouldn't have to be there for court. He said "oh, yeah, that could work. Come with me on Monday." So our awesome travel agent changed my flight for me and I stayed till Tuesday evening, which gave me 7 full days with my sweet boy.

On Monday, August 6, I went with my agency guy to the court and he had an assistant pull my file and we waited for all the scheduled appointments to happen and then he asked if the judge would see me and praise the Lord - she said yes. She did the parental interview with me and my part is done. Hoping to hear word soon that the other document has been provided and I've officially passed court. Then I will be legally his mom and can post pictures of his sweet face. In the meantime, I can post some of the great shots that don't show his face that were taken by my photographer friend Wynne Elder who went with me on the first day that I saw him after a year!!! What a cherished time - especially to have so many great pictures of.

Another prayer answered - I was so nervous but when I arrived at the orphanage, he came right to me and put his arms up for me to pick him up. He was unsure about the camera snapping away in the distance but he warmed right up to me. He wanted to be held literally all day. I got some amazing snuggle time with my sweet boy. And lots of smiles and even some kisses. It just felt so natural to have him in my arms. He even fell asleep in my arms. It was the perfect day. I wasn't sure how he'd respond to me. It couldn't have gone any better.

Over the course of the 7 days I got to spend with him, I got a great overview of his little personality and my boy loves to be held and be as close to mommy as possible. He doesn't like it when I leave and screams "mommy, mommy" and throws an all out fit. It was very hard to leave him each day and especially the last day. I definitely saw some major melt-downs and temper tantrums throughout the week. He is a toddler, after all. He was definitely testing mommy so one of the things we will have to establish very quickly when I bring him home is boundaries. I'm also going to get a book one of the other moms recommended with basic Amharic. It'll be so much easier to communicate if I know some Amharic. Some of his frustration was him wanting things but not knowing how to tell me. By the end of the trip, he was getting very good at pointing and I was learning some basic Amharic words - especially the words for no because my boy is a little bit of a trouble maker. He's definitely going to be a handful. I'm just thankful for getting to see a full range of his little personality and needs, challenges, etc - so I can prepare even more.  Plus a few of the days, he didn't feel good so we took him to the doctor and they gave him meds for a bacterial infection that was making for some seriously nasty diapers. Yup, a few blow-out diapers while I was holding him - I'm officially a mom now that I've been pooped on:) ha ha I hung out with him everyday at the care center but the day we took him to the doctor, I brought him back to the guest house with me afterwards and he was so cute and curious in the car ride and in the room. He played in the bathroom sink for at least 30 minutes. He thought that was pretty cool. We ate spaghetti and then he fell asleep in a carrier on my back that one of the ladies let me borrow. Had I known he'd want to be held so much, I would have brought a carrier. Will definitely be bringing one next time - that will really save my back. And he loved it. I got lots of pics and video of my time with him - captured his cute little voice, his laugh, smiles and even a few tantrums on video. What a precious time I had with him. It was very hard to leave but so much easier knowing all that has transpired with his paperwork being done, him being moved to the care center, me getting submitted for court and then able to do the parental interview with the judge. Once I get word that I passed court, it is an estimated 2-3 months wait time for Embassy. And that's when I get to bring him home!! I'm praying for the week of October 1st.

God is soooo good and I am so thankful! 

LOVE our Ethiopian family

We just returned from Ethiopia and oh boy - my heart is completely wrecked. Mihretu and I traveled on our own last March (2018) over his ...