Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Picture-Palooza

Isaac had a great 1st Christmas. It started on Dec. 21st at my aunt and uncle's house and continued throughout the week, ending Dec. 27th at Jason's aunt and uncle's. I know that Isaac doesn't get the whole concept of presents, Santa, and all of that, but we had fun opening his presents for him! Santa brought Isaac an excer-saucer. He loves it! He is getting good a moving himself around the different toys. He also got lots of other toys and books that he will have fun with over the next several months.

He also had fun with all of his cousins. I love watching them interact with each other. It won't be long until they are running around creating chaos together.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Back to Blogging

So it has been ages since we have updated the blog! Sorry about that. Right after Thanksgiving Isaac got sick with what we think was rotovirus...yuck! It was a long 12 days of a very bad tummy bug. He was nice enough to share with both Jason and I along with several extended family members, luckily our illnesses didn't last as long as his did. It took Isaac a good two weeks to finally get back to his normal self. This was the first time since coming home that he has really been sick and man was it a good one!
We have been busy getting ready for Isaac's first Christmas. Between his getting sick and us going out of town the last 2 weekends, the Christmas decorating has been slow going around here. We do have a tree up, but it only has one ornament on it! Oh well, there are presents that are wrapped and under the tree so I do feel like we have gotten something accomplished!
Isaac is doing great. He weighs over 11 pounds and is 23 inches long. He is now wearing sizes 0-3 month clothes. Last week he turned 7 months old so he still has some catching up to do! He is really close to rolling over from back to tummy and is getting really good with his upper body control. He is a chatter box these days too! He loves "talking" to all of his toys. He also has a good belly laugh, but only Daddy gets the really loud chuckles for now. I guess Mommy just isn't that funny!
Last weekend we went to KC to visit family. He got lots of lovin' from his cousins. It is so cute to see them all together. It won't be long before they are running and playing together.
Jason graduated with his Master's in Administration degree this past week. We are both glad that this semester if finally over. Between papers and projects, along with everything else going on, it has been VERY busy! Way to go Jason, Isaac and I are both so proud of you :)
We are looking forward to our first Christmas together as a family of three. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Pictures

A new slide show of pictures from the last month or so. Look how our boy has grown!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are most thankful for Isaac and how he has blessed our lives. It is hard to imagine life without him, he has just fit so perfectly into our family. We are thankful for our extended family and the love and acceptance they have shown for Isaac. We are thankful that he is healthy and growing. And we are thankful for all of the love that he has brought to our lives.

Isaac's story was told on the local news today. For those of you who missed it (like we did!) here is a link to the story. They did an excellent job!

I will post pictures of Isaac's first Thanksgiving once we get them uploaded.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reunited...(and it feels so good!)

In Ethiopia it is common for several babies to share one bed. This picture is one of the first taken of Isaac (in the manly pink blanket). Next to Isaac is Diesel, a little boy that now lives just a few miles away from us! Last weekend Isaac and Diesel were reunited at a welcome home party hosted by our agency. It was so cute to see them together again. I know they will be best buddies for life!

Here are the two little guys meeting again for the first time in two months. As you can see they both look like they haven't missed a meal since coming home! It will be so much fun to watch them grow up together. I am glad that Isaac will have a friend that shares such an important part of his history.
We are looking forward to our first Thanksgiving together as a family of three. Isaac will get to meet some of his relatives over the weekend that haven't been able to come for a visit since we have been home. If you are staying in town for the holiday, you may want to tune into KSPR 33 evening news on Thanksgiving Day. Isaac's story will be told during that newscast. It is kind of funny that we have gotten so much attention since Isaac has been home. Jason and I are both shy by nature, but we love talking about Isaac and our adoption so these interviews haven't been too painful.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Roly Poly

He finally did it!! Isaac rolled over yesterday...three times in a row! He is getting to be such a big boy. He is 6 months old today (tomorrow we will have been home exactly 2 months) and growing like a weed. He is over 10 lbs. now! (Notice in the picture how meaty his arms and fingers are!) It is hard to believe just how much he has changed in the last 2 months. He smiles all the time, coos almost nonstop, rolls over, grasps for his toys, and has such a strong grip and head control. Our miracle baby! He also appears to be cutting his bottom teeth. Whew, it is painful for all of us!

Isaac and Meemaw

We have been busy this week. We went to speak at a meeting for people thinking about adopting, just to give a first hand account of our experience. Isaac was a hit, even though he slept through most of it. It is crazy to think that just last year, we were at the same meeting. It has been one year exactly since we made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia. Today we got a visit from a local TV station, KSPR. They interviewed us about our adoption and plan to air it on Thanksgiving day. I will keep you posted on times so you can all make sure to tune in!

Isaac (making a funny face) and Mommy

Isaac went to see Santa Claus last week at Silver Dollar City. We forgot our camera..ugh. We did buy the picture they took there, but it isn't one I can post here. Just trust me it is cute. I think he asked Santa for a johnny jump up! (I hope so because that is what Santa is planning on getting him!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Isaac's First Halloween

Isaac enjoyed his first Halloween. I think the pictures will say it all! He is just so darn cute :)

Life at our house is busy, but we are enjoying every minute of it. I am not sure what we ever did before we had Isaac in our lives! We are still waiting on a court date for Tenaye. Things have gotten backed up in the courts in Ethiopia. They are requiring some extra paperwork which in the long run will make sure that all adoptions are ethical and in the best interest of the child. While we understand that these changes are necessary the waiting game is difficult. Hopefully we will hear of a court date soon. Once the date is set it will be about six weeks from that date that we travel (assuming that everything goes well and we get approved). So keep her in your prayers along with all of the other little ones who are waiting to find their forever families.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Isaac the Tank!

Isaac has gained 1 1/2 pounds in 17 days!! We went to the Dr. office for a weight check on Friday and Isaac weighs 8 lbs. 5 oz. That is up from 6 lbs. 13 oz. from September 30th! He is also 21 inches long (almost a whole inch longer). He loves his formula :) We were trying to get him pumped up all week for the weight check. Singing the Rocky theme song while he was drinking his bottle and lots of pep talks when he was eating. I guess it worked!

Isaac is improving every day. He is very alert and will look for mommy and daddy in a room and can recognize our voices and follow us with his eyes in a room of people. It is so cool! He is getting better at the bumbo seat. Below are pictures of the very first time in the Bumbo and then when tried again the next day, he realized it wasn't so bad after all.

He is tolerating "tummy time" a little better too. He still can't roll over, but we are working on it. His neck is getting stronger too and he has good head control. He can hold his head on his own now. He also smiles and talks to us a lot, he is very social. It is amazing how much he has changed in the month since we have been home.

The last few weeks have been very busy. Isaac has had several welcome home showers. We are very lucky to have such generous friends and family. My cousin from Alaska even came down for a short weekend visit just to meet him! I started back to work last Monday. It was a busy week with parent/teacher conferences, but we all survived. Jason took a lot of time off last week and plans to do the same this week. He will have to go into school a few days and then will use some of his time "off" to finish up his Master's classes. Luckily we have two grandma's near by that love to help out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Christian County Headliner article

You can find the article about Isaac and his story by following the link below, and find the article entitled "From Africa With Love" Amelia did a good job writing it and really thought Isaac was something when she came to our house. The only factual error was the month of our referral (June, not April). The print version has several more pictures in it and will make a great keepsake of this journey.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Meet the Press

Today Isaac, Jason and I were photographed and interviewed for the Christian Co. Headliner newspaper. The pictures turned out great! I made Amelia, the reporter, show us a preview of the pictures so I could check my hair and make sure I didn't have a double chin! They were all good. Isaac got hungry during the photo shoot so we had to stop for a milk snack, but other than that he did a great job. We were interviewed about the adoption process and our reactions to becoming new parents. The article should run next Wednesday. It was lots of fun!

After the interview, we whisked Isaac off to the hospital for his newborn screening. Even though he isn't technically a newborn, his doctor thought it would be a good idea to run the normal tests that would be run on any infant born in the United States. We thought that sounded like a good idea too. Isaac did a good job. Jason held him and I looked away as they were collecting the blood so that I didn't faint. What kind of example would that be setting for my son?! Then it was back home for a quick nap and a bottle before my friend Lori came over to meet Isaac for the first time. They were instant friends! He is sleeping now, I guess he will miss Project Runway. Oh well, I will catch him up on all the details when he wakes up!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Isaac and Daddy

This is my favorite picture of Isaac.

Isaac and his sweet smile!

The cousins are checking each other out!

Update: Long time coming!

Ok, Jason is overwhelmed with teaching high school, his online class, and finishing his Master's Degree, so I am taking over the updates on the blog.

Last Month: We arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia late Saturday September 6th. We weren't able to see Isaac right away, we had to wait until the next morning. Sunday morning we traveled by taxi (what an adventure!) to the Myungsung Korean Children's Missonary Hopsital. We were able to meet Isaac at that time. He looked soooo small lying in a regular hospital bed. He was all hooked up to an IV for anitbiotics, oxygen, and a feeding tube.

He looked like such a sick little boy. Everyone kept telling us how good he looked and that he would be fine. What we didn't know at the time was that he almost didn't make it. A few days before we arrived his condition worsened and they had lost hope for him. A doctor from Tampa FL was in Ethiopia adopting his own child and made a trip to the hopsital to check on Isaac. He properly diagnosed his condition (pneumonia and a bacterial infection) and ordered a different set of antibiotics. Jason and I firmly believe that God sent this person to save our son. Many people that we spoke to at the hopsital had limited English skills, but one lady said it best when she said "God saved your baby." We know that God loves Isaac and that we are blessed to be able to call him our son.

Over the next week Isaac's condition continued to improve. On Friday September 12, he was completely unhooked from all tubes and we were able to take him back to the Guest House. I think we slept a total of 7 minutes that night because we both couldn't stop looking at him! He did great and continues to thrive today. We have adjusted very quickly as a family. Jason has really impressed me as a dad. He is a natural! For someone who never changed a diaper in his entire life, he is a very quick learner. We have done a good job of splitting the night time feedings so neither one of us are feeling overly tired these days.

We left Addis for home on Tuesday September 16. It was a long 24 hours of travel, but we made it back to St. Louis on Wednesday the 17th. We were greeted at the airport by both of our parents and it was so good to be back. We were tired, but happy to be home and get started on being a family of three.

Move ahead 2 weeks: Isaac had his doctor's appointment today and was such a trooper. We were very impressed with his pediatrician, she seems very nice and personable and was great with a screaming baby. He weighed in a 6 lbs. 13 oz. We were hoping for 7 lbs. by now, but maybe by the weekend. We go back in a few weeks for a weight check. Other than being a small 4 month old, he is doing great. His heart and lungs sound good and he has no visible signs of illness. Which after all he has been through in his short life, that is fantastic! He got a shot in each leg and we go tomorrow to get a heel prick done at the hospital. The dr. has ordered a newborn screening that would have been done automatically if he had been born in the USA. We are going to wait until the 6 month appointment to run blood work to make sure that all of his birth mother's antibodies are out of his system so that we get a more accurate reading.

In the two weeks since we have been home Isaac has really changed. He is more alert now and is tracking with his eyes. Jason and I think he can recognize our voices and he is full of smiles (we are hoping they are genuine and not just gas!) He is getting more control of his head and neck and has found his fists. We are still working on his grip and trying to get him to reach for objects. He was a preemie baby so it will take him awhile to catch up with other kids his age. For now, the main focus is on his gaining weight. He has a Buddha belly! We can't see ribs anymore so we think we are making progress!

I have two more weeks to enjoy this little boy before I have to go back to work. Jason will then take about two weeks off to be home with Isaac and then our boy is off to the babysitter! We are lucky to have found a great one and we know he will be in good hands while we are at work.

That is it for now! This is kind of fun...I might have to post more often! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Since our referral...

Our court date for approval of adoption for Tatiso (which since then we've found it is Takiso) and Tenaye was scheduled for August 1. Takiso passed court with no problem, but Tenaye had some paperwork issues and did not pass court. Since that time her paperwork has been refiled but we don't have a new court date for her as of yet. We were glad that one passed, but that meant we'd have to travel twice to bring home our children. Over the last month we've realized that this is all in God's plan to bring him home first, and then her.

Typically a family will travel 6 weeks after they pass court. We had planned to leave towards the end of September to get Takiso, but our little guy (who was born a preemie at 4lb. 8 oz.) lost a little weight and wound up in the hospital. After one round of antibiotics the doctor figured out that he had pneumonia. They switched the medicine the IV antibiotic and they think it will do the trick. We were able to obtain a medical visa to bring him home 3 weeks early, which meant we had about a week to make travel arrangements, figure out lesson plans for three weeks, and get everything ready at home. Talk about stress!

As I finish these first two blog entries, Laura and I are in a hotel room in St. Louis, waiting to fly out early Friday afternoon. If Takiso is healthy enough to travel, we will have an embassy date on Wednesday, September 10 and be back home on the 14th. If not, then we may be in Addis Ababa another week or so. We truly feel that this is the reason that one child is coming home now, and the other later this year. Takiso is needing a lot of love and care, and it'll be easier to give him that with only one around the house.

A Leap of Faith...

Last November we saw a notice in a church bulletin about an informational meeting by Adoption for Families, an agency located in Springfield. It was being held at another church on a weeknight for anyone interested in getting more information on domestic and international adoption. I'm not really sure what struck both of us about that notice, but we both read it and brought up the topic of adoption one evening. We had always talked about adopting a child one of these years, but only after we had a biological child or two of our own.

We went to this meeting and met some very nice people from the adoption agency and a few couples that were interested in adoption. We also met a family who had just brought a little girl home from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her name was Jayden. And she was beautiful. Laura and I looked into domestic adoption as well as international adoption. Over the next week we discussed all the pros and cons about adopting from the US, Russia, China, and Ethiopia. Something about that little girl and the Hope's Place orphanage she came from stole our heart.

We proceeded through the adoption process starting in December, 2007. Over the next few months we filled out a lot of paperwork and had several meetings with Crystal from the agency. In April, 2008 our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia and we were officially waiting for a referral. From the beginning we requested an infant girl, although we were open to a boy and were even open to adopting a boy AND a girl. We never really figured we'd be given two children, and were planning to bring home our first child and then eventually go back and adopt a second.

That thought process changed on June 30 of this year. Jason was in Atlanta for a national FBLA conference, while Laura was at home. On a Sunday morning, Crystal called and said she had a referral for us. A little girl who had just turned 3 had arrived at Hope's Place and they wanted to find a home for her as soon as possible. The courts in Addis Ababa would be closing in early August and to get a court date, we would have to say OK to her within 48 hours. But that wasn't all. A baby boy had been born June 10, and shortly thereafter was at the orphanage. Crystal wanted to know if we'd be interested in adopting both. After many phone conversations we both realized that we were destined to welcome both these children into our homes and lives and said yes. A family of 2 was about to become a family of 4!