Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 8th Post

OK, I am going to attempt to pull the posts from Facebook so I can have a pretty good journal for our family to have in the future. It will be a lot, but for those who haven't been following facebook, this will help catch you up.
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hey Everyone! We made it to Ethiopia on Thursday! Wow! What a different world! We have much to share about our trip already, but can't post on our blog from here as of yet! If we had internet capability like this in the states, we are so spoiled, I doubt anyone would use it. Am so glad to get some connection. Facebook seems to be our only outlet. We can't even send emails. I will try to post a little here!

We have seen some of the most beautiful sights and some of the saddest sights since being here. It will take me a while to process it all! The people, in spite of their circumstances are warm and friendly and seem to all be willing to work very hard to glean the little bit of a living that they can. The exhaust fumes were a big part of today for us and every day for most of the 6 million people in Addis Abbaba.

Addis is the city we have come to to pick up our new son Teshale. Our travel guide and driver know him and have share some about him with us. The travel guide is his English teacher and bible teacher. He says that because Teshale has had to learn Amharic (the native language) of the country, he hasn't learned a lot of english yet, but he is willing!

Yesterday (Friday), I was in a fog all day long, but we went to see some sites. We went to the Rock Hewn Church which was the location that 5 replicas of the Arc of the Covenant were kept. We also went to a local Museum, to a Lion Zoo and a nice restaurant. So far so good on the digestion, but it is early yet! Smile! We just keep pouring down the JP+ and probiotics in hopes that we will be able to bypass that!

Today I woke up feeling much better and more coherent. Our driver and travel guide went all out for us today since we said that we would like to get out of the city to see the country. It took almost 2 hours to get out of the city. We all fared pretty well for the trip out. We had food on our stomachs and some motion sickness meds in us. It was beautiful once we got out of the city. We saw many colored birds and sites too many to elaborate on right now, but the guides were dedicated. You should have seen the mud holes they went through to get us to the tops of these mountains. We were not in a 4 wheel drive vehicle either. We were in a minivan! (Smile...)

With only a few scratches to the van, we made it and it was worth it. The drive back was green of a different kind. It made me so appreciative of the fresh air that I often take for granted in America. The poverty here is beyond belief and the people live right in the exhaust and mud. I have much more to pray about after the past few days! Anyway, we survived the trip back and are looking forward to tomorrow. We will be going to a local church that has services in English. It is the one Teshale has been attending, but unfortunately, he will not be there tomorrow.

August 9th Backpost

August 9th

Today's update: We went to an English speaking church service this morning. The pastor amazingly enough was last assigned to a church in Appomattox VA, right down the road from us. He spoke a lot about not just believing in Jesus, but knowing... Him. He said if his mother hadn't taught him how important that was early on in life, he wouldn't have felt the need to venture over to a place like Addis. I am glad she
taught him about that, because that is what he wanted to bring to Ethiopia and he has done that. Many more like him are needed here to show people Christ's love and hope! After that, we went to a wonderful restaurant and had Pizza and Calzones.... It was great! Tomorrow is our big day to meet our newest son and Noah's little brother! It will be about 8 am your time so please keep all of the details in prayer!

I am sure we will all be excited, but I am sure that it will be tough for Teshale to sort it all out himself, but he knows his forever family is coming for him. I am just not sure he can conceive of what forever means with all he has been through. ...After we spend a few hours with him tomorrow, we will go get him Tuesday around 8 am your time. Stay tuned!

August 10th Backpost

August 10th

Ok Everyone! Day I met Brett - HUGE & AWESOME; Day we got married - AMAZING; Day we had Noah - The Ultimate - So we thought! Today, bar none, as a family was the most indescribably incredible day ever! Teshale is beyond words! He is well, see... for yourself, but just know that pictures don't tell the story! He is fun, funny and seems very happy to be coming to be part of our family! Well, the photos may have to
wait until this connection allows us to load, if it will even while we are here in Ethiopia. The ladies were taken to a spa where we got a pedicure and a sumo wrestling - oops, I mean a Swedish massage after wards. Those of you who have had one, may know what I am referring to. I was just about to excited to lay still, but managed! Can you believe both of those for several hours and only $35. I know! It was worth much more.

Afterwards, we went to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant that had music and entertainment also. A dancer even got Brett up and dancing! It was wonderful to experience some of Teshale's culture! Well, today was Meetcha day a...nd tomorrow is, you guessed it, Gotcha Day! After tomorrow he will be with us all the time! Praise the Lord, for He is Beyond Good!

August 11th Backpost

August 11th

Oh Happy Day! Teshale is officially with us and he is awesome! Oh, I think I said that last night. Well, he is! Noah and he have hit it off wonderfully so far. He so far is very easy going! We didn't have hot water when we got back and wan...ted to get him all cozy, clean and warm, so we waited for several hours, then decided we would just have to make due with water we heated in the kitchen and the cold water in the shower. We took him to the front desk to have them explain it all to him so he wouldn't just feel like we were assaulting him with hot water. He told her, just tell them to bath me with cold water, no problem! How easy can you get! We are loving it and feeling like he has a pretty good grasp on us being his family and that he is going to fly to the US to live with us. I am amazed at his flexibility and calmness through the whole thing. I believe he is at the best age for something like this. There is another Mom with us who picked up a toddler who hasn't stopped crying much yet. Oops! Brett just told me that I wrote assaulting him with Hot... water in the previous post. I meant Cold! Anyway, we will keep you posted as much as we can!

Well, it only took 2 1/2 hours and 2 reboots to load these to you! Hope you enjoy them! Wow will I never complain about slow computers in the US again! Smile! (This was referring to the pictures below posted on August 22nd of us first meeting Teshale).

August 12th Backpost

August 12th

Another Awesome Day with the Boys! Today was hang out and play day until 1pm Embassy appointment to get Teshale's passport. That was about 2 1/2 hours in a waiting room, but the kids did real well with Lego building and playing! After 5 of questions, we were out of there and off to Teshale's FIRST restaurant ever, we think! He got to see a large fish tank and ate very well for dinner.

By the way, we found out he doesn't like green peppers! Smile! Hopefully that doesn't mean he doesn't like any green veggies. We shall see though! Veggies aren't a common thing for most to eat around here. Fruits are a little... more common, but we have been advised not to eat any fruit you can't peel. We have been fortunate so far with the stomach stuff, so our Juice Plus+ is having to be the fruit and veggie servings until we get back to the states. That is a bit challenging for our bodies because we normally eat lots of salads, fruits and veggies. It doesn't seem to be bothering us too much to have to go without, especially when you see thousands... and thousands in the streets who probably never get any real nutrition. Please pray for these people and all of the countries that aren't as fortunate as the USA.

America is truly in a minority for food and so much more, no matter how bad our economy is!!!! Tomorrow we go to visit a couple of local orphanages. Friday is a Free day that we haven't decided what we will do yet. I am just so anxious to get... Teshale back to his new home and bed! The poor little guy has missed naps for the last 3 days!

Backposting to catch our blog up to date.

August 14th - Back Posting for Journal Record

OK, I am going to attempt to pull the posts from Facebook so I can have a pretty good journal for our family to have in the future. It will be a lot, but for those who haven't been following facebook, this will help catch you up.

One last post before our return trip to the states: Sorry I didn't post last night! We had no power or hot water when we got back from the Orphanages. It was just as well, as it will take me a while before I can begin to express my feelings a...bout that experience. All I can say is that it is a sight no one wants to see, but everyone should see. I only pray that I don't soon put it in the back of my mind and will continue to pray that God gives us some more ideas on how to help with such a HUGE _________________. I can't even give it a word. No one word would due! Brett and I just came back with the kids and told them to play while we laid on the... bed with our hearts and heads aching. Enough said! Please pray for these little ones and the limited number that care for them.

Today was our free day! We got Teshale's passport and VISA! Yeah! We can take him across the border! We then went to a Coffee Factory! I am not a big coffee drinker myself, but this was Great! We also got to tour the factory! That was ver...y interesting! Then we went to lunch, came back to the guest house and watched "Robots". Teshale is only interested about 1/3 of the way through, then he isn't too interested in listening to the English yammering. We then went out in the court yard and played soccer for a couple of hours. Our boy has some moves! We said goodbye to 2 of the four families we have been with, ate dinner, then called it a night.

Tomorrows schedule: Shop a little close by for some Amharic speaking kids videos, have lunch, nap, go to airport at 6:30pm, then fly out a little after 10. We are hoping that will time our sleep well with the time change. We will arrive back in Ro...anoke Sunday afternoon and are really looking forward to many firsts with our little guy. He has said he is excited to be flying to the states with us tomorrow!

What a big world is awaiting him! Blessing to all that are following! Thanks for your prayers! Hopefully we will be posting to our blog more than here when we get back. If you do not have our blog and would like to have the address, please just let me know!

Hello All, I know everyone has been wondering why we haven't posted to our blog. It has been a little hard to know how to begin our first post since we weren't able to post to this blog while in Ethiopia. That and fatigue have hindered our posts!

We are doing Great and slowly getting caught up from jet lag, emotional drain from all we experienced over there...etc. I am so bummed that I wasn't able to post while in country. I was able to post to Facebook, but I am using this as our journal for Teshale to have to look back on, so may end up pulling some of the posts over here. Sorry not to be able to update those of you that only have our blog. It was an amazing trip and Teshale is a wonderful fit for our family! He seems to be adapting pretty well. The language barrier is the source of any challenges we have, but he is so eager to learn English, it won't be long before he is proficient. He has a great laugh, a great sense of humor and he LOVES Daddy! He seems to take to Noah and I really well also, but we can see where we are on the pecking order pretty clearly and we don't mind. We are so blessed to have him.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Praise the Lord - We go to Ethiopia on Wed - Aug. 5th!

Yippppppeeeeeeeeeeeee! It is confirmed! There is an embassy appointment for us! We will be going to get Teshale this coming Wednesday! I am beside myself! We can now breathe! It felt a little bizarre getting tickets without confirmation that we really do have an appointment for the final step to get our new son! Our tickets arrived Fed Ex today and we still hadn't heard anything to be positive up to that point, but we just heard from our adoption agency that we have a Green Light to go this week! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! We will be attempting to post while in country, but my computer is Vista and gives me a lot of trouble so don't know how well that will go! Well, I had better keep on packing!

Our July Update Arrived yesterday!

These pictures make us really smile! It is so good to see Teshale look so happy! Praying that it isn't too hard for him to be taken away from his friends now that he is starting to feel happy and having many of his needs met. Fortunately we have been connecting with a few of his friend's families so that we can possibly connect through webcam or by phone once we get him home!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teshale's Birth Certificate!!!!!

We received Teshale's Birth Certificate today! Wow! Exciting to see it in writing with our names on there as his official parents. We did receive word today that we are very likely to travel Aug 5-15th. This will depend on whether an extra Embassy Appointment can be opened up for all of the families that will be needing to travel then. This is for the finalizing paperwork so we can bring him home! Please surround this in prayer!

Also, please pray for my Mom, Ellen! She has been going through excruciating pain right now as a result of impinged nerves in her back. She has had a lot of trouble with this over the past year, but is currently waiting for an appointment in August to get an epidural to help with the pain. Somehow, the pain meds she has been prescribed are making her very sick and on top of that, the pain seems to be ramping up. She can barely walk - has been needing the use of a wheel chair lately. If you know my mother, that is NOT her. She runs everywhere she goes with gusto! Please keep her in prayer. She is a long way from all of her children and we wish we could be there to be of some kind of comfort for her. Please pray for her wonderful husband Milt also as he is helping her with all of this. I know from my own experience, it is awfully hard on a husband to have to see their wife in so much pain! She might be able to get her epidural Aug 3rd, but I'm praying for sooner!

Thanks for your prayers!

No Travel info. yet! Keep Praying!

Sorry to say, No travel info. yet! I will post as soon as I know! Keep Praying! Lord Willing, we will have him with us one day!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Please Pray for our Travel News - Hoping to learn about it tomorrow!

Thank you to all who have been faithfully following our adoption process. Many are wondering, when is the travel date? We are too! If MOWA came back Friday raring to go, we should have some kind of word on when we will be traveling tomorrow. It almost feels like we are awaiting Court decisions all over again! Smile! Not really! We have been taking advantage of this time, trying to clean more...etc. It won't be long after we get back that school will be starting, so I hope to use this next week to finalize some packing and work on school planning. That was the hope for last week also. I'm guessing God knew I needed this much time to get a little better organized. We are planning to homeschool our newest little guy as well! I am truly looking forward to it and think Noah will be a big help! He is very excited! Did I say Very? He is way beyond that!!!!!!

Anyway, please pray that our travel isn't delayed by anything else. For some reason, there has been limited space available for travel, which may impact when we are able to travel. A family who went over last week have found themselves in a challenging position. Their paperwork didn't arrive for their children's visas in time for them to catch their flight. Ethiopian Air says they can accommodate them on Aug. 26th or something close to that. This is a family of 9. Please be in prayer for them. I guess there are flights going, but difficulty with outgoing flights being booked.

As I told Noah yesterday and I have to keep telling myself, "we will not get Teshale 1 day sooner or one day later than the Lord wills it." We will do all we can, but we are learning to rest in Him. He has been so very good to us! Stay tuned! We will let you know as soon as we do!

In Christ,

Updated Video

We updated the video to include some additional photos and improve the video layout. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pictures and Update about Teshale from July 14th

Wow! What a blessing and HUGE gift the Logue family gave us this week! They picked up their sweet little guy last week and delivered a package for us to Teshale. They sent us almost 20 pictures that we are treasuring! It also looks like they spent a good little bit of time with him and helped make sure that our letter we sent was translated to him. Even though his first language is Sidamo and the transition home staff speaks Amharic, they say he is picking up the language quickly and they feel like he was able to understand the letter pretty well. This was really important to us as we really wanted him to understand that we are trying to get to him as soon as the Ethiopian government will let us. With the delays we have experienced, we don't want Teshale to think we aren't coming! It sounds like he was very happy to get the letter and small gifts. We are so thankful for all of the families who have been so willing to take packages for us. It means the world to us and hopefully communicates a little bit of our heart to our little buddy!

Noah made it to his camp this week and although the first day was lots of thunder and rain, he said it was better than he had expected. What a blessing for me to have the week to get some things done and know he is in good hands and having a blast with some of his dearest friends. His favorite parts were the "100 ft drop water slide and riding the bus (we don't get him out much - smile!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pace Travel Update and Prayer Request

Please pray for the Reed family. We were hoping to be traveling with this precious couple to pick up their darling 3 month old, Juliana Ashure. We just got word that their sweet little one just went to be with the Lord this morning. The couple have a 4 year old little boy who is also crushed by this blow. The family has been to the Ukraine and come back without a child in a previous adoption attempt and now this. They were so close. Please lift them up in prayer as they need a tremendous amount of it right now!

Also, I know everyone is wondering why they haven't heard about our travel date. Well, that is because we don't know it yet! We were hoping it was going to be next week, but as it turned out, Monday following our Wonderful "Court Passing Day July 3rd", MOWA (the Ministry of Women's Affairs) decided to close down for 2 weeks of restructuring. We know that with all of the problems we have had so far with them, that this is much needed. It would have been nice if they would have waited until the Courts close down August 1st, so it wouldn't be hindering those who are anxiously awaiting court dates, but that is not the way it worked out.

Anyway, we are doing fine and just so excited that we have Teshale as an official member of our family. We will be blessed to go get him whenever God sees fit. We are also praying that the MOWA closure is helpful for the families that come behind us. I am sure this is a daunting job to handle so I don't want to be too frustrated with them. God alone is helping me with that! Nothing Angelic on my part I assure you!

Fortunately, when we found out we wouldn't be traveling, we were able to mail a package off to a dear family in Ohio who will be picking up their child this weekend and hand delivering our 4th package to Teshale, probably Tuesday the 14th. It was helpful knowing he will be able to get something from us soon, since we hadn't sent anything since last month. We also enclosed a letter that we pray can be translated to him. We wanted him to know that we are wanting to come get him as soon as the Ethiopian Government will allow us to.

Anyway, we will know more on the 27th or 28th and will post anything new that we hear as soon as possible. We appreciate everyone's faithfulness at sticking with us through all of the details and ups and downs. Please keep praying! That is what has brought us this far!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Awesome links and songs!

Check this little guy out on the first link. I think he is 7 or 8. This inspired Noah. Both links are so powerful! "God, please help us make a difference in this world and especially in the lives of the children."

Post from our Adoption Agency blog

Please read this story.


A post from our Adoption Agency's blog

Now that I am home I will be blogging about my past days in Africa. On the last night of our Visiting Orphans trip, I asked every team member what was their most memorable moment. Here is mine:

We spent a day at one of the many Mother Theresa Orphanages in Ethiopia. This orphanage has about 400 kids with HIV. The number is staggering and a very small percentage of these children are ever adopted. It is one of the most hopeless places we visit as a mission team.

The guys played football, aka, soccer with the older boys while most of the women led the children in songs and arts and crafts. While I was working with one set of kids, a team member named Audrey cried out my name. When I turned to see what was the matter, she was trying to help a little 4 year old boy out of a ditch. He had been pushed by another child head first into this rock ditch and blood was running all down his face and onto his hand, while he cried in pain. Without thinking, I picked him up immediately and rushed him to the clinic that was on this large compound. I was with a volunteer who worked there and she asked me if I had any open wounds. I had not even thought about that. Not once did I hesitate to not pick him up because he had HIV. Thankfully it never crossed my mind!

However, in that moment, the danger of this virus and the threat of it scared me. I quickly realized there was no concern as I did not have an open wound, and I laid my head against his bloody head and tried calming him and comforting him. It seemed to work. Pretty soon the nurse took him and laid him on the table. He was crying as she pressed on his head. She uttered something to him in amharic (the national language of Ethiopia) and he quickly stopped crying. I was amazed as she put disinfectant on his sore and he didn't let out a peep. I myself would have been crying and carrying on!

I asked her what she said and my heart broke with her answer. She told him, "If you keep crying, I will not help you and you will get an infection". So, no matter how hard she pressed, he did not let out a sound. You know this tiny boy wanted a Mama during this time. Someone to let him cry. Someone to kiss his wounds. Someone to reassure him he will be okay.

Most orphans NEVER have someone to pick them up when they fall, or to kiss them, or to comfort and hold them. They either go uncomforted or are hushed like this nurse did to him. I excused myself from the room as for me even, it was too painful to watch. Pretty soon, he found me in the multitude of children and grabbed my hand. He was such a quiet and shy boy that even the interpreters couldn't get him to talk, so I don't know what he thought. But he did manage to say that his head was still hurting. Then all the sudden he left with all the other children to go to lunch. He didn't look back..he just walked away. That was a sad moment for me too. I realized that they are used to visitors coming and going and never seeing them again. He didn't even bother to say good-bye. Why bother...he doesn't seem to have any hope.

Later that night I laid awake in tears as I realized he could have had a concussion and no one looked into that chance. I was so worried. So, my husband and I prayed for him until we couldn't stay awake any longer. I wish I could tell you his name. I am more than ashamed that I do not know it. He just wouldn't talk though.

This is one reason why I love my job as our Development Director. I get the chance to work for a fundraising campaign that does bring orphans some hope. Our Orphan's Ticket Home campaign works tirelessly to help bring more children home. I love knowing that even though I was unable to bring this particular child home and could only be there for that one moment in his life, I can still help other orphans find their way home through this campaign. If you are inspired in any way by this blog post, please pray about giving to this campaign. You can do so at

Until They All Have Tickets Home,

Amanda Lawrence

Director of Development