Friday, December 19, 2008

What's a name

Since we have announced what the name is going to be for our adopted son, some people are asking why we chose the name as it is unusual. TJ and I go into great thought when we think about our kids names. One requirement that we have is that the name needs to be from the Bible. The most important thing we look at is the meanings.

With those two things in mind we start looking in the Bible for some guidance. No, we do not just open it up to the genealogies and start looking for a cool name with a cool meaning. We look to see what Jesus is telling us. Names are something that you have for the rest of your life. What a perfect opportunity to use a name to remind a child or adult what a purpose of their life is. With that being said, let me introduce you to our kids’ names and why we chose them.

First let’s start with Micah, our oldest son. Micah means “Who is like God.” We are supposed to be going through our actions thinking about what Jesus would do in the situations we are in. You all remember the W.W.J.D. bracelets; Micah’s name is like a permanent bracelet. When he hears his name, he will be reminded to think about what Jesus would do.

Ephraim, our second son, means “fruitful”. Jesus tells us that we need to portray the fruit of the spirit. Those fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control, are 9 attributes that we need to portray in every aspect of our lives. Secondly, Jesus tells us that we need to be fruitful and multiply in numbers. His name is a reminder to go out and make disciples and followers of Jesus.

So, giving a child a name is something that we see as a “teaching moment” in their walk with Jesus.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"The Call"

Today started out as a normal Tuesday morning. Micah woke up and ran into our room at 6:30 am, waking us up. TJ left for work and I start my normal morning routine. Micah and I left at 11 to let my in-laws new puppy out, drop of some rented movies, to our adoption agency to drop off some stuff and to say hi to our caseworker, and drop off some candles that a customer bought before we went to lunch with a good friend and her daughter.

We arrived home and Micah went down for his nap (for some reason, in my bed). At 4:13 I received a phone call.

R: Hello
K: Hi, this is K...
R: Hi, how are you doing
K: I'm doing well. This is "the call"
R: Are you serious!!! I was just there earlier today
K: I know, I didn't have all the information yet, so I couldn't say anything. Do you want to hear about him?

She proceeded to tell me his name and how old he was, where he is staying and any other information she had about him. I was frantically writing it all down, while thinking in my mind... can this really be happening. We have been waiting only 2 months!!!

She e-mailed me his picture and the information that she had. I called TJ right away and forwarded him the information. TJ looked at his picture, read the information and I asked him... What do you think? Do you want him to be your son? TJ said Yes, of course. I let our agency know that we are accepting the referral and ran to Walgreen to print off a picture. (In the meantime, Micah did wake up from his nap and was wondering why I was running around the house frantically)

We went to TJ's parents house for haircuts tonight and I brought the picture. TJ carpooled with his sister today, so he made up a story to get her to come with him to his parents house. When she got there, I told her that there was a gift for her under Micah's diaper bag. She opened the envelope and was really excited and showed TJ's mom. His dad arrived home later and we had Micah give him the picture.

After haircuts we had to tell my parents too. I called my mom and made up a story about why I was calling to see if they were home. We drove to their house and as we were sitting in the driveway getting everything ready, the garage door started to open. My mom screamed because we startled her sitting in the driveway when she wasn't expecting anybody. We gave Micah the picture and he gave it to her. She ran into the house to show my dad.

Our Little E now has a face (we had the name picked out already). His name is going to be Ephraim A. We are keeping his given name as a middle name, but due to Ethiopian rules, we cannot tell you what that is until after we pass court.

Welcome to the family Ephraim!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

On Friday, Micah and I went shopping with my Grandma. We picked my Grandma up and off to the mall we went. We decided to stop by Santa to see how he did. Needless to say, he did not like it. He liked him from the distance, but the minute he was on his lap it was downhill from there. He still does not like Santa. We went to TJ's Grandparents house today to start getting him and his cousin Bryton used to the Santa suit and that did not go over well either.


After shopping on Friday, we went back to my Grandparents house. Micah played the piano for us. He even told my Grandpa that he did not like Santa.


I felt sorry for the Santa in the mall, but he has to be used to it right?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Number 4

What does the number 4 mean. Both Micah and TJ was born in the 4th month. We have been in our house for 4 years. Its how many legs our kitty Sazja has. Its how many people we are going to have in our family sometime in 2009. Its how many months a couple that we met on our adoption journey is ahead of us... and they just received a referral. It is also where we are on the most complicated list in the world!!!

Yes... we found out today that we are number 4 waiting for a child in our age range and since the people receiving referrals are 4 months ahead of us... we predict another 4 months.

Thanks for all of your prayers during this time and continue to pray for our patience as we slowly move up this complicated list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The fear of dreams

Having a bad dream is not an enjoyable experience and you normally cannot get back to sleep afterwards. Micah had a bad dream last night. It is always sad when your little one has a bad dream because it takes a while to calm them down. Well, by the time my sleepy brain realized that he was crying (and it was the bad dream cry) He already had the bedroom door open and was climbing into our bed.

So, you would think that having your kids in bed with you would be a fun "campout" experience. That is the total opposite. I was kicked in the face, head butted and about pushed out of bed. Needless to say, that once he was calmed down from his dream and sleeping again, he was put back in his own bed.

The joys of having children. :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

5 years and counting...

This weekend marked TJ and my 5th year wedding anniversary. I cannot believe that it has been 5 years already. We continued our yearly tradition of going to Shanty Creek. We dropped Micah off at my parents and made the journey on a blustery, snowy Friday night. We arrived a little after 11, so we just unpacked the groceries and climbed into bed.

Saturday morning we bundled up and hit the slopes. It was great boarding. The condo we stay at is ski in/ski out (or board in/board out in our case), however the pro shop was closed by our area. The lift attendant was very nice and let us ride up the hill and board down to the other side without lift tickets. (maybe it helped that we had are paid discount passes that we get at a local store). The boarding day got cut a little short due to some broken bindings, but at least it was only $5 to fix them.


They have a lot of snow already. It looks like it should be the end of January. Hopefully that all sticks around so we will have great boarding all season long. When you walked in the powder you sunk past your knees. (The picture does not do it justice, one of us should have been standing by the snow bank)


When we got back to my parents house on Sunday, Micah had a wonderful new shirt on. He obviously did not appreciate us dropping him off at Grandpa and Grandma's house to go boarding without him. :-)

It has been a great 5 years and anticipate many more great years!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

oh... oh... doornobs

This week Micah learned how to open doors. It was not to bad at first because for some reason he thought that he could only open the doors to the outside. That was easy to solve by keeping them dead bolted. However, today at my aunts house, he was opening all kinds of doors. He was supposed to be down for a nap and then all of a sudden he was standing right behind you. I think I may get woken up early in the morning to a kid climbing into my bed instead of knocking on his door to come out. :-) Oh well... at least I will be able to cuddle with him in bed for a little while (he would much rather play with the frog stuffed animals that I have on top of my bed instead of cuddling with mommy.) I guess that is a boy for you.

It is also snowing quite a bit around here. Micah has been enjoying running around in the snow. He thinks it is the coolest thing that footprints are left behind when he walks. I really need to get some pictures of that because it is just plain adorable. (I'm normally the party pooper and make him come inside)

Nothing new on the adoption front. Still waiting for that phone call with a referral. Someday I will be able to write all about it. Just today is not one of those days.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Girls Night Out

Tonight I got to hang out with a bunch of mom's. This group of mom's had 2 things in common. The first was that we were all mom's (or soon to be mom's) and the second was that we are all in the process of adopting or have already adopted from Ethiopia. It was so much fun hanging out with this group and meeting some new people. It was also fun to see pictures of those people who have already received their referral or are already home with their child(ren). Hopefully we can all get together again soon and enjoy another night together.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


This afternoon (after dealing with the mall crowd just to buy nothing) we went shopping for our chirstmas tree. Micah picked this one out (with mom and dads help), so now it is in our living room.

I was looking through some pics of Micah to print out for his grandpa and found this one. I took it when I took him to John Ball Zoo earlier this fall. He is such a ham for the camera.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We are still here :)

I got a little "in trouble" from a new friend (who is also adopting from Ethiopia) that I have not updated our blog in a while. Just letting you all know that we are still around. We do not have anything to update on the adoption front. We are still awaiting a referral and still predict it to take another 11 months.

Micah is starting to like his toilet. (hopefully that means potty training will happen soon) He learned the word Pee Pee this week and does tell us after he has gone. However, he doesn't want you to just change his diaper, he has to sit on his toilet for 15 mins before hand. So I have been spending much of my days sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for him to finish. (He is probably going to get after me by posting this on this blog, but that is what mothers are for:-))

It is getting late, so I will post some updated pictures of Micah shortly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

crabs, crabs and more crabs

I have not posted for the last couple of days, so I thought I would fill you in on what we have been doing in this sunny state of Florida. Monday we decided to head up near Tampa to see if we could find some manatees. We wandered around the beach for a while looking. We saw a dolphin swimming around in the bay and a bunch of crabs on the beach, but no manatees. We asked some near by fishermen where we could see the manatees and they told us about the observation deck. So we piled back in the van to go there, just to find out that it was closed for the season. It opens on November 1, so maybe we will be able to quickly stop by before we leave.

After Micah's nap, we took a bike ride to the little park. Micah loved going down the slide and he is getting so big. He can now climb the latter by himself.
Tuesday we went to Mayakka State Park. We went on a river boat ride to look for some alligators. It was freezing. The temperature was not too bad at around 70, but the wind was bitter. Our tour guide said that the gators were most likely swimming in the water to keep warm. We did see a few of them, but not as many as I was hoping. We did see some cool birds.

On our way out of the park we stopped to take a nature hike. We hiked to this "canopy walk" and it took us to well above the tree tops. It was cool to be up there as you could see for miles.

Today, Grandpa and Grandma arrive so we will be having four generations running around this condo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Way Sidewalks?

Yesterday was another beautiful day in Florida. In the morning we took Micah swimming again. He loved swimming around the pool in his boat. He also loved hanging onto the side of the pool and kicking his feet. When Micah went down for his nap, TJ's mom, TJ and I went for a bike ride. TJ's dad wanted to watch the race, so he volunteered to listen for Micah. On this bike ride we saw things that we normally would not see at home. The first thing was one way sidewalks. They would split the sidewalks in two (to go around a bunch of trees for example) and put one way signs up. I think I have seen a sidewalk narrows sign at home too, but they have them down here. The narrow sidewalks are the same width if not a little wider than the ones we have at home. You can almost go 4 wide on the "normal" sized sidewalks.



During the bike ride we would see wild life. We rode by a pond (one of the many) and we saw a turtle sunbathing. I wanted to get a good picture of it, so I started to walk towards it, snapping a picture every few feet not knowing when it would dive into the pond. I got within 2 feet of the turtle before I decided I was close enough. The only thing the turtle did was cower his head into his shell a little.

The next cool thing that we saw was an alligator. Last time I was here, I wanted to see an alligator and I never saw one, so I was on more of a look out this year. I finally saw one. This one was sunbathing on somebodies lawn. This was a cool sight since the alligator was having a stair down with a turtle.



That evening we went to the beach to look for seashells and sand dollars. The beach's sand was so white and powdery that it felt that we were walking on powder sugar. Micah enjoyed walking in the waves. After he got tired walking, TJ picked him up and they chased after birds.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

80 and Sunny

Yesterday the weather was 80 and sunny (at least where we were). We left to go to Florida with TJ's parents for probably the last vacation for the year. We had to get up at 3:30 am to catch our flight. Micah did really well on the plane. He enjoyed looking out the window and watching things go flying by during take off and landing. The second flight he slept, but what do you expect from an 18 month old that got up 4 hours before he normally does.

When we got to the condo we put Micah's swimsuit on and went into the pool. He loves the water and he was swimming around between his Daddy and Grandpa in his little boat. It was really cute because if TJ or his dad went under water, Micah would put up his hands like "where did they go?"

In the evening, we took Micah to a near by bridge to look for turtles. They were good size turtles that I think got fed all the time. They picked up their head and swarmed to us while we were standing on the bridge.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Like Father Like Son


TJ got Micah ready for church this morning and decided that they needed to match. It was so cute I had to take a picture to show everybody.

This week Micah turned 18 months and he had his check-up. He grew quite a bit in height this time. He is now 33 inches tall. This puts him in the 75th percentile for his age!!! However, he did not gain much weight. He only weighs 23 lbs which puts him still in the 15th percentile for his weight. We are just going to have a tall skinny boy, just like his father.


Some adoption news, some families received referrals this week!!! This is really exciting time for them. Please pray that court passes the first time for these families and the children can come and be with their forever family soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It has arrived!!!

We received word from our contact in Ethiopia that our dossier has officially arrived. We also found out where we are on the waiting list. This is a complicated list since people request varies ages and genders. We are still predicting that our wait time is about 12 months before we receive a referral. Continue to pray for our patients during this wait time and for the safety of all the children in Ethiopia.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Day at the Farm





This morning we were able to spend some time with couples in both of the bible studies. For those who do not know, a little over a year ago our bible study decided to split into 2 smaller groups. So now we try to get together a couple times a year as a larger group. This fall's outing was to Post Family Farm. The kids had a great time on the hay ride, corn maze and the pumpkin train.


We are still waiting to hear that our dossier made it to Ethiopia. I'm not sure how long that takes, but I'm thinking we should hear soon. We also were able to meet a bunch of people who are within varies places in their adoption journey at Gojo's on Thursday. I only had one more blog to add to our list, but as I get more addresses from the people that we met, I will add them.


The food wasn't that bad. It is very filling since you eat with this soar dough bread like stuff called Injura instead of silverware. TJ did not like the Injura and thought it would be better without that, but I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And Its Off...

We received an e-mail yesterday from our adoption agency that they have received our dossier back from the Assistant Stork. This is exciting news because it was the final thing that had to happen before it can get sent over to Ethiopia.

Our adoption agency was able to send the dossier on its way to Ethiopia today. I am not sure how long it takes to get there, but as soon as it does, we will be an official "waiting family." This means that we patiently wait with the other waiting families for a referral. We anticipate this to take 12 months before we receive the referral. During this time we will be learning more about the Ethiopian foods and cultures to incorporate into our lives. We are going to Gojo's tomorrow with a bunch of other families who have or are in process of adopting from Ethiopia. Gojo's is an Ethiopian restaurant in Grand Rapids. I'm excited to taste what our son or daughter eats on a daily basis.

I will let everybody know when we receive confirmation from our contact in Ethiopia on when our dossier arrives.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Finally Here

I just wanted to let everybody know that we received our I-171H today. We will be going down to the Office of the Great Seal and get all of our documents authenticated before we send them off to Washington DC. This form is the last thing we needed for our dossier, now the official wait begins. Our adoption agency tells us the wait is between 6 to 9 months before we receive our referral, however, there are some people that we have gotten to know during our adoption journey that have been waiting 11 months now. So it will probably be closer to 12 months before we get our referral. Continue to pray for our patients as we wait for our referral of our son or daughter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Breakfast 'N Tupperware

Micah has 2 slices of toast for breakfast each morning. One day, we were running behind and had to get to church, so I put his breakfast in a Tupperware container and let him eat in the car. Since that morning, he thinks breakfast has to be in a Tupperware container. As I am making the toast, he goes and gets a Tupperware bowl and waits patiently for his toast to get done.
On the adoption front, we are still waiting for our I-171H. Even though the US government told us that processing could take up to 3 months, we were hoping to our approval around the 2 month mark. A few of the other families that we have met on our journey received theirs in 2 months. Keep praying for our patience as we wait for this form.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Praying

Teaching a child to pray before their meal can be challenging since all they want to do is eat. Micah is starting to understand that we pray when we eat. When Micah prays he puts his hands on top of his head (like he is doing so big) and waits for us to finish praying. It is so adorable that I just had to share with you guys.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Micah Speaks!!!!

Well, today is a day to write in Micah's Baby Book. Yes, it is a day to remember, but not a word to remember. Micah ran up to me today and says... (drum roll please)... Stinky and boy was he stinky. Yes... the word stinky was his first word, but it more came out like dinky. True, he does say "yea' and "au oh" but i just did not want to count those as his first words. (Call me crazy). I think I have a true boy :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Almost home again

Yesterday we woke up to rain drops again. (this time on my face since the tent leaked again). We stayed in the tent until the rain let up a little and went to pay our respects to those who served our country and their families. We arrived at Arlington National Cemetery with a light drizzle. We walked around paying our respects to all the grave sights that we passed. We also made stops at JFK's and Taft's sight. I stopped to read the little pamphlet that received when we arrived and found out that they average 23 funeral services a day at the cemetery. I was thinking that was a lot and did not want to believe that number. However, while we were there for 2 1/2 hours, we heard 4 different times where the 21 gun salute was given to the solder.



We paid or respects to the tomb of the unknown soldiers, both the common one that everybody knows about and the one for the Civil War.





After paying our respects, we walked to the Pentagon. It started to pour during that time, so we got soaked, but Micah stayed dry in his little rain coat. We got on the Metro right by the Pentagon. We only have distant pictures of the Pentagon since they do not allow photographs around the building for security.
While walking to to Pentagon we stopped under an overpass to check the weather. The rain was not scheduled to stop until Saturday afternoon, so we decided to pack up camp and start heading home. We decided to stop by TJ's Great Aunt's house since we were going to be in the area and since she has been begging us to come and visit her. Unfortunately we got stuck in a few traffic jams and was not going to arrive until 4 in the morning. We called her up and told her that we would just come in the morning. She really enjoyed our visit today and her son took us all on a pontoon boat ride. Micah went swimming in the lake afterwards. We decided not to spend the night at her house and just head home tonight. We both really want to sleep in our own bed.
We had a great vacation and I hope everybody enjoyed reading about our trip. We will be glad to show more pictures, just let us know if you want to see them all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears!!! Oh My

Today was raining when we woke up so we took Micah to the zoo. I know, a funny place to go while it is raining, but they had shelters for us to view the animals in. Micah enjoyed looking at all the animals and he normally had a better eye then TJ and I as he found the animals a lot quicker in the exhibits. In the afternoon, it stopped raining, so we were able to venture outside to see the tigers, sea lions and otters. The first picture is Micah getting all excited and pointing out the Giant Panda, the second picture is a picture of the Giant Panda.

Yesterday we went to the Smithsonian again. We were unable to view as many things as the day before, since I rolled my ankle on the walk back from the restroom the previous night. All the walking aggravated it and made it swell a little more. Despite the hurting ankle we still walked to see the Jefferson Memorial.

Once we got back from that memorial we had tickets to go to the top of the Washington Monument. All I can say is WHAT A VIEW! This monument was placed at a location and a height that you can see all the historic parts that make up Washington. Especially Arlington Cemetery. I am really hoping that we can go there before we leave.
When we completed the monument we went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were not allowed to take pictures while we were there. They created the museum to show what it was like to be trapped within the concentration camps. The design did not let you see any aspects of Washington DC even though you were sitting right in the middle of the city. It was phenomenal and would highly recommend that you go there if you ever get to the city.

After the museum, we walked to the Supreme Court Building again. Along the way we decided to stop at the Natural museum. Micah liked the zoo better than this museum since the animals actually moved. :)



The Supreme Court building was amazing also. Unfortunately the court room closed for renovations, so we could not go in. They have a staircase in the building that does not have a support to it. It had a self support system, so all the support comes from the wall and the step bellow. It was cool.


After the Supreme Court Building we walked to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It is the building where they actually make our currency. We were able to watch some money being printed and learned how it is done. Our tour guide was not the greatest as she got mad every time somebody talked, but it was a cool building to see. We could not take pictures while on the tour for security reasons. They did have a couple of exhibits that we were able to snap some shots of in the very beginning.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Micah visits his future home

Today we went to the Smithsonian and visited some of of national monuments within the area. We started by stopping by the US Capital building. The Library of Congress was near the Capital building also. It was cool to see all the buildings that you only see pictures of. After the US Capital Building, we wondered around the Bitonic Gardens, Native American museum and the air museum. These had a lot of cool things in them, but due to battery power left on the computer, pictures will need to get posted later.

After the museums, we went to the Washington Monument. It looks just like the monument at Bunker Hill, but much taller. We were unable to go up into the monument because tickets were only available for the 9 PM and 9:30 PM tour, and we did not want to keep Micah up that long.

We then ventured to the reflecting pond to view the monument's reflection and to see the Lincoln memorial. The Vietnam and Korean war memorials were near the Lincoln memorial, so we stopped to show our respects to those who searved and lost their lives to give us our freedom.
While we waiting for the Presidents Own Military Band to start playing, we walked to Micah's future home. :) Micah enjoyed climbing on the wall and getting his picture taken. Even at the Capital building, he wanted to walk right in.


We finished our day listening to the band. They were impressive, but I was hoping they would play more patriotic songs with American composeres. Either way, they played phonemically.