Our family of three :)

We're together!!  We are having such a great time learning our daughter, discovering our new roles as a mom and dad (both as parents and as husband and wife), and just soaking up all our time together with our friends here in Addis.  We have been incredibly blessed to have traveled with some fantastic adoptive families who have become very special to us.  We have also LOVED our time as a family of 3 with our Ethiopian brothers and sisters.  Oh my goodness part of me just doesn't want that to end!   If it weren't for the reality of Heaven, I might just get on the plane kicking and screaming ;)  But honestly, there is an amazing family we are coming home to and we cannot wait to introduce our daughter to you all!

If we could describe this time here in Addis, I think bliss might fit it well.  We have had such a sweet reunion with our daughter and her personality melts us both!!!  We've also been broken in with the pee, poop and puke, so we're not totally oblivious to the reality of having an 11 month old.  For this child we prayed, and as we begin to unwrap this little gift, we are seeing how God was very clearly preparing our hearts for this newness in life.  From my transition from a wonderful career as an RN to my new role as a stay at home mom, to the numerous books and classes we took, to the advice and words of wisdom that came at just the right moments, we are loving every moment with her. Waking up in the morning and looking over at the pack n play FULL is the best feeling <3  Pinch me!

I know by this point every single last one of you reading this is here to see pictures (yep, been on your blogs for that same reason too!!), so here's what daily life with Natalie Degeme is lookin' like at "home" and with her nannies .... 


So close you can almost taste that freshly roasted coffee

Its almost go time.  I can't believe it.  Degeme's bag is done.  Our bag filled with clothing to donate is done.  We have to pack ourselves tomorrow and then that'll be it.  We'll drop Brie (our laid back black lab that we adore) off at my parent's place.  We'll cross off the last few things on our list or just realize we didn't even need them on there in the first place.  We'll attempt to get some sleep, and then in the wee hours of the morning, my husband's parents will graciously come load us up and drive us to the airport. I cannot believe we're really, really going to be on a plane and headed over to begin our family of 3.  It's amazing.  Sitting here on the couch in a quiet home, the dog is snoring and my husband is fast asleep upstairs while my mind runs a mile a minute.  It's not even all important stuff, some of it's just random stuff. Exactly like that book Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti.  I'm doing the spaghetti part like.a.pro. :)

We are really looking forward to this trip for so many reasons. One of them is because I have been so drawn to spend time at Korah.  We met an remarkable man of God on our first trip. His name is Bisrat, and I long for each and every single one of you reading these words to hear his story.  It will bring tears to your eyes.  It has the power to change your life.  He has lived in Korah and comes to serve us as our translator while we stay in Addis Ababa.  Even more, he serves our souls.  Watch this linked video below.  Although it doesn't feature any of the friends we've met yet, it shares the story of Korah and of Mission Ethiopia (an organization we'll hopefully get to visit).  My goal is to simply show Love to every person I am priveldged to meet.  One of the things Mission Ethiopia does is make necklaces.  I brought one home in June and it is just beautiful. It's handmade, from the Earth, and it's character speaks to the woman's hands who made it.  I absolutely love it and hope to be able to bring some home with us.  (To watch the video, you can pause the music below if you scroll to the bottom of our blog)

Finally, (I know you're thinking I ought to wrap it up about now)....there is a blogger woman named Jen Hatmaker.  Some of you may be familiar with her name because she is well known among the adoptive community.  Just this past week, Jen posted a fantastic message titled "How to be the Village".  Please, please, please, take some time and read this.  I found myself laughing out loud at her hilarious, but oh so true comments about the life families like Justin and I have chosen.  Thank you for being our village!

Click here to read her blog:  http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/02/how-to-be-the-village#.TrH3-Z7PbLI.facebook


Red light....GREEN LIGHT!!!!!!

Justin and I are ecstatic, giggling, crying and praising God at 2:21 in the morning:  We received the news that our daughter's paperwork has been cleared by US Immigrations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We'll await news from the US Embassy for a visa appointment and when we can travel (hoping next week!).  Thank you, everyone, for the numerous times you've prayed, texted, called, encouraged and put a hand on our shoulders as we went through this long process!  God is amazing!  Thank you Jesus, for sustaining us and allowing us to experience Your heart's desire for adoption.  To say we're overwhelmed is an understatement!  

Baby girl:  may your heart be filled with this life giving Joy that is from Christ alone.  You have a forever family and we cannot wait to have you in our arms again!!!!  I've waited since June 23 to say this: SEE YOU SOON!!!!!!!!!!  We love you, xoxoxox!!!

Psalm 9:1 “I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.” 


"A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

This past weekend was a blast!  Let me back up a bit and mention that from November 7-18, this home is full of hope and anticipation.  A month ago, we were told that our daughter's paperwork was insufficient and would be forwarded to Nairobi, Kenya.  At that time, they told us it would take 1 to 2 months for our file to travel the African terrain before anyone in Kenya looked at it.  We were devastated (just read the post below and you'll have a fully picture of that).  Then something amazing happened.  In our sorrow, God revealed that He would  provide a nation, a group of now 60+ families who would sadly receive the same email.  Feel the same grief. Email the same dozens upon dozens of Senators, Congressmen, and many other government entities.  And come together to support, guide and love one another.  We formed a group and began "meeting" other AP mom's and dad's from many different agencies.  We shared funny stories, scripture and virtual shoulders to hoist one another up as we waited.  Then we learned that US Immigrations caught wind of the growing number of families stuck in this process and they decided to go to Ethiopia themselves.  Files would be held and not sent to Kenya.  Instead, Nairobi was moving into Addis.  The dates: November 7th thru 18th.
And so here we are.  And boy is the anticipation building in our home.  What we know is that US Immigrations will either review our family's file and state that we have cleared (oh was a JOY that would be!) or we will receive an email that says we are being investigated further by the Nairobi team.  Regardless of the outcome, we are prepared to hear sometime before Thanksgiving.  This is what has been communicated to us by multiple government entities and so we wait.  Trying throughout the day to surrender any anxiety back to the God who restores, gives strength, and who allows me to come back time after time and soothes my soul best.
In preparation for this week, a group of 5 of us "Waiting Momma's" went on a random adventure, drove/flew into Baltimore this past weekend, and shared 36 hours of wonderful, joyful time together!  Random??  Totally!  Worth it??  Absolutely!  Some of us had meet in Ethiopia on our first trip to court, but all of us have formed an incredible community of support and friendship during this process.  Here are a few pictures from our weekend of "therapy" :)  It was a blast!  Now we're ready to hear about our case and all the other waiting families!!