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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dinner with the African Children's Choir!

Had fun with the kids from the African Children's Choir last night. My family brought baked ziti and our friends Ellie and Eileen (see Mesta's and Ellie's blog on my links) brought chicken. The kids live in Mirembe House. This is a home our church bought for them on 6 acres of land.

I am in love with all of these children and pray for them to grow into happy healthy adults. And we pray that they can grow to be excellent leaders in Uganda....maybe one day they will live to see the world change so that they will not have to watch as more children are orphaned etc.

We also had dinner with the kids on Friday night at my friend's house. Nine of the children flew back to Uganda on Saturday and 9 more arrived very late last night. In May they will all go back to Uganda and a new choir will come. We will greatly miss them.

These kids have spent the year touring, performing with Sandi Patti, Josh Groban, Bono etc. They have stayed at some amazing hotels as well as in sleeping bags in many church basements. But they are orphans whose main goal is to make the world aware of the plight of the orphans in Africa. Uganda has strict adoption laws so the intent is not to try to adopt them but rather encourage support for their program and any programs in Africa that can help the destitute children... Find out more at www.africanchildrenschoir.com

My 2 year old is totally confused. Everytime she sees the children from the ACC she thinks they are her siblings and wants to know why we don't put them in the car to bring home. She always says "my kids,my kids". Last night the baby played African drums during devotions and worship time with the children. She also played with their new dolls and was walking around with SUSAN's green flip flops....it was cute.

These children really have such great opportunities with the Music For Life program in Uganda. But only so many children can be served. There is way too much work to do.

Please keep the program and staff in your prayers especially Elsa (who we hope to find a husband for), Sara, Craig, bev and gary, ray, julia, suzanne, Harriet, Robert and Joshua to name a few.....

And happy new year...

Monday, December 24, 2007

DISH TO PASS! JAMES 1




It is Christmas eve day and as I wait for the turkey to totally defrost (soaking it in water for the last half hour or so….old trick but officially not on the packaging), my son has placed the gifts in piles. He has counted them 4 for Sam, 8 gifts for Matea and Andrew. Some gifts for Ejigayehu, Kidist and Yared that will remained wrapped until they get home. Andrew says “hey mom you have no presents under the tree”. I had told my husband I didn’t want anything (we are trying to save money etc). But still I feel like Mom and Dad are totally the winners this year. My heart is so full with my beautiful family. God is so good.

Since ‘y’all’ (yes this yankee is being southernized by living in NC) can’t be here for the turkey just want to give you FOOD FOR THOUGHT , some real meat to chew on. I have been thinking a lot about James 1 in the bible. The entire book is full of good juicy morsels. But in reading I would like to approach it from the end of the chapter to the beginning (sort of like…’eat dessert first’).(shh.. I had cookies for breakfast....)

James 1: 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Many of us know that scripture but I think it is important to read before this passage too. This is the scripture that truly convicted us to adopt. We can know what God wants but if we don’t DO what He wants, what is the point?

TAKE ACTIONS
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS:
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

So: He asks us to take care of His orphans. He calls us ‘deceived ‘ when we don’t act on His command/word. And He knows we will be facing trials but our perseverance will make us better people.

If any of you have a calling to adopt please take the leap. God needs you to join us in caring for His children. He will provide. There will be trials, you will most likely have doubt or fear (I did many times) but HE will pull you through and give you the best gift of all…the honor to be on His team, doing His work and serving next to the ALMIGHTY. There is no greater gift!

Friday, December 21, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! WE PASSED!

We are all on our way to a working trip in Baltimore but just found out that we PASSED COURT....please celebrate with us. We are thrilled. Any of my forum friends please don't mention anything on the forum as we were told very early due to our specific situation,,,,YAY! We will tell you when we have travel date...PRAISE GOD!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tomorrow is Court! December 21st!

As I type this is it 4am in Addis. In a few hours a judge will be getting up, having his coffee, reading the paper and then setting off to court. This will be business as usual to him but to our three kids whose fate he holds in his hands it could mean a major life change for the better. Our kids won't know that this is going on. They will be in their classes at Layla House and playing jump rope at break time. All I can say is that by the time we all wake up (and some of you read this)another court date will go by and we will either have passed or have to endure another upcoming date probably 3 weeks into the distance.

I have learned alot about myself through this journey. I always liked to think of myself as someone who had a lot of faith in God. But I have learned that I don't have nearly enough. I have learned how to force myself not to panic. I have learned to WAIT for God's will to be done even when I feel the need and desire to have the goal accomplished immediately. I have come to realize that even though our three children will be adopted there will be a million kids in Ethiopia that will still be waiting and may live out their entire lives (probably shortened lives) without parents to tuck them in at night, correct them, hug them, tickle them.

I have spent weeks pleading with God and begging Him in desperation to bring our kids home. But my prayer tonight is different:

"Thank you God for this amazing life. Thank you for this incredible experience. Thank you for the lessons learned. Lord forgive me for having pride in believing I was stronger than I was. Forgive me for forgetting who was in control. Forgive me for believing in what the world was showing me and not holding on to what you had been showing me all along. I have spent many Christmas' asking you for things. I have spent many years asking you to fulfill my desires of worldly success. Lord I bow before you and come to you to and ask you to forgive me and allow us to serve You. Allow us to minister to the call that is the closest to your heart. The call to take care of your orphaned children. Mostly Lord with our hands raised high volunteering for this blessed calling we pray that You will truly choose us. In return, we offer our home, our hope, our hearts, love, laughter, family, friends and all we know of YOU to these children (Ejigayehu, Kidist and Yared). Through You all things are possible. We pray that the Holy Spirit will move the judge tomorrow to knowing that these children have an appointment with God that begins with his saying YES to our case. Mostly Lord we vow to praise You, Love You and honor You regardless of what happens tomorrow. May Your Glorious, all Powerful, Righteous Will be Done! In Jesus name...AMEN!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

AARRGGHHH!!!!

This is the email we received today from our director. I am just crushed and ticked off...I sent a letter back to her that was not very sweet. This is our 5th court date. The reason we are in this predicament in the first place is because the Agency's attorney and staff failed to notice in the fine print on the papers that there were ever any additional children. It wasn't until the judge mentioned it on the last court date 12/5 til they even knew these kids existed. It is my opinion that had they been diligent enough to check out all of the paperwork in the first place we wouldn't have been wasting this much time. These kids have been in the orphanage a year. It has now been 4 years since they have been totally orphaned.....PLEASE PRAY that the judge will be reasonable and generous and understand how long the kids have waited...or that the boys will show up..Here is the email:


"Just to let you know. Tefera has had a hard time actually locating the brothers. He has carefully documented all of the contacts he has made in trying to find them. He has had a letter prepared by our sponsorship office stating that when the boys are located they will be accepted into our sponsorship program. Today is a holiday in Ethiopia. If they are unable to locate the boys before Friday they will go into court with information about efforts to find them and the plan for when they are found, and hope for the best. We will let you know when we know more."

From our director

"One adoption won't change the world but it will change the world for that child."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Letter from Ejigayehu!

12/15 (we just now got this translation back....it came this weekend). Please pray that we can come to her soon. LOVE LOVE THESE KIDS!!!

Letter from Ejigayehu

To my beloved family,

I miss you. How are you doing? I am doing good. I received the letter you wrote me. I thank you for all you have done for me. We celebrated Ethiopian millennium last week. It was very good. We lit bone fire. We also celebrated a holiday called “Meskel”.
My wish is that you come quick so I can live with you. We love you very much. Please say hello to Andrew, Sam and Mattia. We are glad to find a brother and sister. Please tell my grandparents I love them.

Until I write you again, hope to find you in peace.

Bye, From Ejigayehu
To my father and mother

Totally Humbled!

My friend's blog totally blessed me tonight and I am feeling better now that I have time to really pray etc...but wanted to share this...you can read more on Eileen and Jerry Mestas blog...(click on link). An excellent reminder to keep your faith....

Job 42:1-17

1 Then Job replied to the LORD :

2 "I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

4 "You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'

5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.

6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes."

Epilogue
7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver [a] and a gold ring.

12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.

Prayer Requests/December 21st!

I am in Palm Beach Florida today in a hotel room. Going to bed very early. I have a meeting tomorrow at a place called Club Collette. I'll be home tomorrow night. It actually is pretty nice. Gives me time to think and pray. We have our big court date again this Friday and as you can imagine are very anxious especially with the many rejections at court. I have been having sleeping difficulties between the house not selling/closing date coming soon on the new house etc. And our business being way down. So pray for our house to sell as well. And for God to continue to bless our business and finances. We are seriously considering trying very hard to delay the closing of our new house to avoid carrying two mortgages. We started this process with the house before we knew we were adopting. I felt strongly it was God's will to sell our office and build a larger house. Then we decided to adopt. I will admit I have reached my highest stress level to date. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of the fact that we haven't sold our house, our business is down AND we are moving into a bigger house . This is happening every night...AND I have a high tolerance for stress. I rarely lose sleep. I keep reminding myself that faith is in believing in the things we can't see and not what we see. So, please pray for peace. I have no doubt God has called us for these kids...but my fear is not being able to pay for everything....and I believe adoption is so close to God's heart and therefore a real battle...so we are battling for God's will to be done and that nothing will get in the way of that ...So the more prayers the better.

love,
D

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Names of the BOYS!

Okay...today we received some more specific info of our kids brothers. Their names are Kibru (age 16) and Yidnekachew (13-every time I hear his name I think of a sneeze Yidne KACHOO. This is good because I will always say "God Bless You" after I hear his name...sorry but I couldn't resist/trying to keep a sense of humor). They live in the Assella region of Ethiopia which is south of Addis. This is more of a OROMO Tribe region. But we were told they all speak Amharic which would imply they are not considered Oromo. Also, according to Ejigayehu they have been going to school. They live with the grandmother and apparently only lived with the children after the mother died. At that point the younger 3 moved in with the grandmother. They are from the first father who passed away years ago. The mother Bayoush had remarried and the boys never lived with the family when the mother was alive.

I hope this helps and at least we know who we are praying for now. Still waiting for 12/21 court date.

Monday, December 10, 2007

KPIC Christmas show!


Saturday night we performed "I'll be home for christmas" (I know it is ironic considering we are awaiting our kids arrival) at our church's talent show. It was incredible. There were about 500 people that showed up and the talent pool was remarkable. I also finally realized that I needed to add my links to my websites . So under links we have a link to our "very first dance" dvd---(take a look) and our website for the Deanna Jones Orchestra and Jacobs Journey (under Deanna and Mark's christian music)

I am attaching some pics from Sat. Mark and I now have a recent pic that we like from this sat. And I am attaching a pic of Naty who is at our church and was adopted last April coincidentally from the same orphanage as our kids. So he is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his friends (Ejigayehu, Kidist and yared ) to our church.

I also loved how beautiful all of the children were in this program. Very international....





Friday, December 7, 2007

My extra Two Teenage Sons!

Okay, I don't know what it is, maybe it is the joy of the Lord protecting me but I feel really giddy when I think of how this has all played out with having 2 additional kids in Ethiopia. I still am not happy about waiting. But I can't help but giggle when I think there are 5 not 3 kids. Granted they are two teenagers who I don't even know their names, but I can't help but think that God has a plan for them. I really belive the judge was just really doing what God wanted of Him. Because now these two boys will go to school and have some money every month through AAI. But more than that I hope that when we meet them in Addis (when we pick up our three little angels), that we can set up a meeting at Yemi's brother's church (her brother and sister can translate). I hope we can set up a support system (not talking just about finances, but mentors through the church) for them. I hope they will be open to going to Geta's church and hope they will committ to staying on the straight track and hopefully learning more about Jesus. I believe God has a big future for them. I am still awaiting to even get their names and info on them..ie do they live with our kids grandmother etc. But I just know I have to have more faith , be less impatient and believe in His perfect timing ..I am reminding everyone in advance that our next date is 12/21 although maybe we could go to court before that and pass (it happened to one friend of mine). Please pray this is it...AND Please go over to my links and check out JEN's blog...amazing story on her blog today..incredible...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yemi and Ban!

I had never in my entire life known anyone from Ethiopia until this year. We had just joined a new church about April and then in May decided to adopt. I had told my friend Linda we were adopting from Ethiopia and she said "the ethiopians have been kissed by God. They are the most beautiful people on the planet." Linda is a member of our new church www.kpic.org and was the person who introduced me to the church. She knows everyone. She said "you should meet my friends Yemi and Ban they are from Ethiopia and go to our church." I couldn't believe the timing. I had never ever ever met anyone from Ethiopia and then my new church had this sweet couple and apparently they are not the only Ethiopian people at the church. So for several months Yemi and Ban were standing by for the right time to help me out , teach me to cook, teach me some phrases etc. Well when we started to get letters from the kids in Amharic they were available to translate. I would scan the letters send them to Ban and he would email the translation back. WHAT A BLESSING! And since then Yemi has given me cooking lessons for Shiro and SegaWat. We discovered that we have another thing in common. Their families are very musical and happen to be worship leaders in their evangelical ethiopian churches both in Addis and in the DC area. They are working on a CD (we are working on a cd too). Considering using some of our songs to have them sing them in Amharic. Ban's mother Selamawit is in Addis and wants to pick us up from the airport. Yemi's sister and brother in law sing and play keyboards in their evangelical church in Addis. Mark is putting together sounds for the keyboard over there and we will be singing and worshiping with them in Addis at their church when we get there. I just can't believe how amazing God is. I have spent my entire life not knowing anyone Ethiopian and now I have 3 kids from there, (2 teenage long distant sponsored sons), two friends here with their families adopting us while we are visiting all the way over in Addis. God is good and extremely efficient.

Mestas!

Today I visited my friends Eileen and Jerry Mestas (jerry was working). They had just returned from Ethiopia and had foot tracings of my kids. Kidists feet are about the same size as Andrew's. Ejigayehu has long feet and Yared's feet are a little smaller than Andrews. Ellie (Eileen's daughter) is the most adorable girl and they had taken pictures and video of the kids. We are so blessed to have these new friends. They adopted 2 twin infant girls named Keziah and Keren and their son Josiah (I think he is 3) is adorable. Check out their blogs for their entire story. The links have been added to my page under links...

We are keeping the faith and hanging in there. God is good and keeps providing us with encouraging moments etc. We are very fortunate.

D

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Failed Again!

Unfortunately, we did not pass court again today. And we are equally shocked because we found out that our kids have two older brothers ages 13 and 16. Feels like I went to get a sonogram and the Dr. told me I was having quintuplets when I thought it was just triplets. These boys are unadoptable for whatever reason. We don't even know their names although asked for more info. because we are assuming that if this adoption goes through we will probably be having some communication with them via letters etc. So now we have a new court date 12/21 and the agency will have to prove that they are sponsoring the two boys. This means financial aid and schooling (which you have to give some credit to the judge for thinking of this). The boys have to agree to go to school and show up before the judge. We also have decided to take our funds that are allocated to WorldVIsion, Shaohannah's Hope and Christian Children's Fund and and give them to the Layla sponsorship program. We have not been asked or required to do this which we appreciated but feel it is warranted. The money goes into a general fund for their programs not necessarily specifically for these kids. It is an excellent program anyhow....but just praying the kids are not going to cry and be disappointed with waiting as their friends leave etc. Please just pray with us and for us and all 5 of the kids in Ethiopia. The good thing is that it looks like the kids will move straight into our new house.

I also think we are in the elite group of people who have gone to court this much.

Thanks,
D

Monday, December 3, 2007

4th Court Date! December 5th!

Okay we have another court date on this Wed. December 5th. This will mark the kids one year anniversary of being in the orphanage. They were admitted 12/6/06. And if we pass will travel from around 12/30 or 31st for visa on January2 return on 1/4. .....This also means that the children will be able to be in our church on 1/6 which is the eve of the Ethiopian Christmas. I just want to say for all of you that were praying they would be home for christmas we either should have been more specific or maybe God is trying to tell us something and maybe Jesus' birthday really was 1/7th. HA! God is faithful...prayer is powerful. Please pray that they will give us info immediately....and that we will pass. I am feeling really good about this....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Prayers!

Don't mean to be a prayer hog...but if you can click the comment button and pray for us and our kids we would really appreciate it. We are very worried about our case and have no information due to the poor communication at our agency. My ethiopian friend has offered to have his mom Selamawit in Addis to go to the orphanage or call asking them to email me an update....usually this happens through the adoption agency...any opinions...I am thinking it might be way too pushy and they probably wouldn't give her the info anyhow....we just want to know where we stand regarding court etc.....I have cried alot this week and even screamed out very ticked off at GOd...I have even questioned whether I had been misled in my believing He wanted us to do this (after all wouldn't it have gone smoothly then). I know it is all crazy but I need to glide on the faith of friends and family right now because I am fresh out....so please pray ...we do not want our new potential children to have their hearts broken by having this adoption jeopardized in some way....
Prayers please....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Extra prayers!

Please give us some extra prayers. I am just about losing any patience I have left especially after these two new letters. It would appear that somehow the kids thought we were coming last week...dressed up and then we weren't there...WAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

on the plus side...the note I received from Ejigayehu was amazing. She mentions something from the bible about "wiseness comes from the fear of God"....Prior to adopting the one thing that committed us was a vision I had about being face to face with God and Him saying "why didn't you do the one thing I wanted...which was to adopt" i recall telling someone that that was the one time I really experienced the fear of God. And I didn't want to ever come face to face with Him and have to tell Him why I didn't obey...It really is no coincidence that this is my daughter. Somehow God has connected us and she even somehow is unknowingly aware of my past visions...incredible.

Letter from Ejigayehu
To my dear family (the one I love),
How are you? I am doing good. So is Kidist, Yared and Leni(who is Leni??)? How about you all? I always thank God and pray all the time. I hope you know how much I love you. I can’t wait until you come. I was looking for a sister and a brother and I found both. I love you. Until we see each other again, I would like to leave you with one verse from the bible: “ the beginning of wiseness is the fear of God” (sorry translator didn't remember the exact saying in English)
Bye, I love you


Letter from Melkam
How are you doing? I am doing great. We were ‘faked’ this week. We were told a family was going to come and we thought it was you. So we all got together, did Ejigayehu’s and Kidist’s hair, Martha, Yared and I dressed up, with Kidist wearing the T shirt you brought for her, and were awaiting for your arrival anxiously. We then found out that it was a different family coming.
We had a great time for thanksgiving. Everyone in our house went to Sheraton, and had a big feast with great food and music. How did you spend your thanksgiving?
From Melkam and Martha

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Letters from Melkem!

As a reminder Melkem is Ejigayehu's friend and is older (about 11 or 12). She has taken Ejigayehu under her wing and is best friends with her. We write to her and her sister Martha (9) who has been in the orphanage awhile but now have a family.

Letters from Melkam

Letter from Melkam to Deanna

To my dear mother,

How are you doing? If it is God’s will and I get a gift, I will write my address and keep in touch with Ejigayehu through letters. If you ever meet our family, please introduce them to Ejigayehu. I love you all. I am filled with happiness. You too should rejoice in the Lord.

I love you,

“I prayed to God, and He heard my prayer. Amen”


Letters to siblings

To Ejigayehu and Sisters

To my brother and sister, Andrew and Sam,

Even if people are not blood relatives, they can be brothers and sisters. I would like you guys to know that Ejigayehu loves you very much. She always talks about you. She is glad to have a big sister, a small brother and sister. She used to pray for a family just like yours. It is hard for Ejigayehu to speak English, but she is a smart girl. You guys can teach her English, right? It is for times like these that God gives us a brother and sister.

Good bye. I love soooo much.

Love and Peace


Letter to mark from Melkam

To Mark (the one I love),

How are you? I am doing good. Ejigayehu and I are the best of friends. She was first at KG house. Then she came to our house and in the process of showing her around the compound, we became very close friends. Then I started seeing her as my sister. She is a very good girl. You will probably know more of her kindness in the future. I can’t wait until I see you in person, especially you with Ejigayehu. I am so happy because we found a family.

I love you. Love and piece for you.

More Letters from Ejigayehu!

I hate waiting but I am loving these letters.

Letter to Samantha and Matea

To my dear sister (the one I love),

How are you doing? I am doing good. I was looking for a little sister and now I found one. I miss you very much. I can’t wait until I see you. Your sister Kidist and your brother Yared say hi to you. Do you know how much we love you?

I hope God will let us meet safely. Until then,

Good bye. I love you.

Letter to Dad

To my dear father,

How are you? I am doing good. I love you so much. Kidist and Yared do too. I miss you. When are you going to come. I can’t wait until I see you in person. I am very happy with the whole family. Until we see each other again,

Bye. I love you.


Letter to Andrew

To my dear brother Andrew,

How are you? I love you so much. I can’t wait until I see you in person. We are doing good. Kidist and Yared want me to tell you that they love you too and that they miss you. We can’t wait until we come to America. I love you. Until we see each other,

Bye. I love you.

Letter to Mom

To my dear mother (the one I love),

How are you doing? I am doing great. Yared and Kidist say hi to you. Mom, do you know how much I love you? God prepared you for us. So when are you coming? I miss you. I know we will see each other, but I can’t wait until it happens. Please come soon. Until I see you,

Bye mom. I love you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Letter and minor update!

Hi,

The recent update is that our case was to be submitted to court last friday. And the communication to Ethiopia is down so we may not hear anything until this Friday. I am about to go bonkers......We are not sure it was sumitted just that the attorney was 'going to" submit it on Friday and because of the email being down we may not know anything until this friday......AARRGGHHH! I need to scream and bite something.......Anyhow, in the meantime...here is a new cute letter from Ejigayehu....our closing date of our new house is now....1/10....and I received more sweet love letters today that I haven't had translated yet...

To my beloved family,

How are you? I am doing good. I can’t wait until you come. My favorite foods include cake, chocolate and ice cream(she tells me this in every letter....I wonder how she would feel about chocolate carvel cake..yum). I am glad that you are my family. I like dolls a lot. AAI is very beautiful??? I enjoy receiving your letters. We celebrated Ethiopian millennium at AAI. We made bon fires. AAI kids are my best friends and I love them all. I like the subjects Math and English and everything else. I love the back bag you sent me. I would like to get another one if you can (not sure what she is planning to do with it --but seems to have a purse fettish like Samantha ) Meskerem and Hermela are my friends.
Ok, until we see each other again or until we write another letter to each other, bye. I love you all. Please continue to write to me.

I love you,

Egigayehu.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving at Layla House!

This is a copy of the note from our adoption director Merrily. Sounds like the kids are having a very fancy Thanksgiving. Hope they won't be disappointed next year...HA!

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know what is in store for Layla House tomorrow. A family
wanted to have a Thanksgiving day celebration for the Layla kids and staff. I
suggested getting a couple of sheep or goats and having them cook them there
which they have done a few times in the past, as it is hard to get turkey and we
have no way to roast it.

They then suggested that we check with the Hilton and Sheraton about having the
meal catered or even taking the kids to the hotels in busses.

The final plan is, 265 people going to the Sheraton for Thanksgiving dinner,
with Ethiopian music and dancing, I just wish I could be there.

All of the staff and kids down to and including three year old will go. They
will dress in their best, many in traditional dress. In order to make it
possible for the baby care workers to attend, Gail's daughter and some of their
friends and their mothers will care for the babies for a few hours. Busses have
been hired, hopefully all details are arranged.

This will be an experience the kids will long remember but for the staff it is
even more amazing as most of them would never in their lives be able to have a
meal at the Sheraton--

Part of me wanted to suggest that this money be used for more emergent projects,
but the family wanted to do it, so, it will happen!!

Merrily
Merrily Ripley
Adoption Advocates International

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Report from my friend at Layla House!

I have befriended a woman named Eileen who lives about half an hour from us who is also adopting 3 kids from Ethiopia through another agency..she is adopting twin infant girls and a little boy 3. She was kind enough to visit our kids today in Ethiopia and give them our thanksgiving cards...this is her report:

Deanna,
We went to Layla House today. I called Nate and he was so kind and willing for us to come today. We got there late though and he had to leave so Ivy took us around. She is so sweet too. She is from NJ and has been there since the summer. She loves it there and she loves all of the kids you can tell. She took us on a tour and then we went to the kindergarten class where we met Yared and Kidist. The whole class was sitting at their little desks and they all greeted us when we came in. Then Ivy said 'how about we sing some songs for them?" It was absolutely precious. I stood there with tears flowing down my cheeks as these beautiful children all sang so sweetly. They were all so tiny and yet they knew all the words, hand motions and all in sync. They sang, The Intsy winsty spider, ABC's, hokey pokey, and If Your Happy and You KNow it. It was honestly one of the most precious moments of my life to see all of these children today. They were all so well mannered, excited, and happy in spite of their circumstances. We talked with all of your kids and told them you are coming very soon. They smiled and gave me hugs and kisses. I squeezed each of them and said it was from Mama Falchook. Deanna, their pictures don't do them justice. They are so much more beautiful in person. I nearly melted when I saw them and yes, the tears just flowed down my face. I tried so hard not to cry because I didn't want to scare them but I just couldn't believe I was holding them in my arms. This is all so sureal and so amazing. To look into the eyes of these kids and know that God created them and has a plan for each one of them was so overwhelming to me. They look healthy and happy. They loved your cards and stickers. Yared held them up to me and said "MAMA" as if he was verifying they were from you and not me. I assured him they were from you and he lite up like a light bulb. You are so blessed to get these precious children. I can't wait to see them again in your arms though. We've got the measurements of their feet and photos and video for you. The compound was amazing too. It is all so organized and well thought out. The kids were all playing or in classes. They are all homeschooled you know. They live and school right there. What a concept?? Anyway, I thought of you all day and I was so priviledged and honored to represent you to these precious and amazing kids. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to call me several months ago. It would have been tragic to have missed out on this absolutley amazing day today. I will never be the same!! You should have seen Ellie,too. She had the baby in a snugglie on her chest and she was taking pictures of all the kids. They literally surrounded her and were crushing the baby against her chest at one point. Our translater/driver had to help her and tell them to back up. Ellie had the biggest smile on her face the whole time there and just talked, touched and fellowshipped with each one she could. One little girl little followed us the entire time we were there. I wanted to take her home with me so bad. She is an amazing young lady and I know the LORD is using this in her life for a wonderful purpose. Thank you again, because my daughter and husband will also never be the same. May God continue to bless you and show himself to you. I'll see you soon.
IN HIS TIMING & CARE, LOVE HUGS *& KISSES TOO
YOur sister Eileen

Monday, November 19, 2007

What Amharic looks like...




This is what the letters look like before my friends Ban and Yemi translate them. We have received some in English but just thought it would be interesting to see them. Notice the sweet little drawings at the bottom of the letters...I love those little love letters...

Good news/a little bad news!

The little bad news is that we didn't get submitted or pass court today. The good news is that we know what the issue is. The attorney has to have some papers signed that need to travel up pretty far out of Addis. So, once they get the paperwork back they can submit it immediately and the judge will make a decision. We should know something next Monday. The funny thing is that with Matea's adoption the same thing happened. We were kicked out of the courts twice. The last time the attorney had to send someone through a mudslide to get a signature...we were resubmitted and then passed. With Sam and Andrew I had false labor twice and then had to be induced and then pushed and a Csection...so my adopted kids will all have their own similar story as my birth children do....

Also, received a box of clothes from my cousin Nora...THANKS TO NORA....

And my friend's Ban and Yemi (living here but family in Addis) gave me the emails and phone numbers of their parents/relatives in Ethiopia as support when we are there.

I feel so blessed...

Keep praying...
Deanna

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another letter from Melkem!

This letter came via regular mail and was written in Amharic. It came to me after I received the letter telling us about Melkem and Marta's new family.

I am so touched by the depth of these children:

To dear Deanna, the one I love,
How are you doing? I am doing good. I can't wait until you come and we see eachother. I know you can't wait until you come too. I love the letter I received from you. It had good advices for me. I thank you for all of the advice. (I had told her in my letter to never give up, keep praying and God would find a family in the right time).

Sometimes when I look back at my life, I become tearful. I sometimes wonder why it is that everybody else gets families, but not me. I feel like people don't choose me because of my past history. But Ejigayehu reminds me not to think that way, but be hopeful and that one day I will find a family.

Your daughter Ejigayehu is my best freind. Hopefully, Ejigayehu and I will play with Kidist and Yared and (couldn't determine other name). Ejigayehu can't wait until she joins you in America. I love you all.

Bye....Sincerely, Melkem

BOO HOO....but I am so happy they have a family now. I just would like to keep in touch with them and stay connected to their family. So we are hoping they will be open to a "best friends..."open adoption.

The whole "past history" thing she is talking about is most likely just translated to mean her past without a family etc. but in my mind WHO CARES...these kids are incredible...so I am so happy for her....

Reattaching her letter after finding her family:
Dear I love and I respect D’anna,
A few days after I received your letter, I was told that we found a family. I knelt down and thanked God . I was crying in joy. All of your hard work was not in vain. I learned that I should never give up hope. I know somebody by the name of Katie emailed you last time. We thank you for everything you have done for us. Ejigayehu is also very very happy. I love you bye bye…

All I did was pray and ask others to pray. When you think about it many of these kids have no one even on the planet praying specifically for them. Prayer is powerful...Praise Him...

God is amazing...tomorrow is a big day for us pray.

D

Saturday, November 17, 2007

2 years ago today and blessings in the mail!

Two years ago today we brought our baby home from Guatemala. We are hoping that November 19th will be our lucky day for the kids. The new address of our house is 1119. So pray for us on monday...maybe we will hear some good news.

Yesterday we received mail from the kids in Ethiopia and from Martha and Melkem. They were written in Amharic so I had to get them translated.

Looks like Martha and Melkem have reasons to celebrate with a new family.

From Martha:
To my family how is your health. I am doing very good. We love you all. Me and ejigayehu are doing fine. Kidist and yared I love them. I love everybody. The kids are equal in age . we go and play with them. I can’t wait until you are coming. Me and ejigayehu are happy…until we come to America ..I can’t wait. When you come ..ejigayehu we will show you all the things..

From Melkem:
Dear I love and I respect D’anna,
A few days after I received your letter, I was told that we found a family. I knelt down and thanked God . I was crying in joy. All of your hard work was not in vain. I learned that I should never give up hope. I know somebody by the name of Katie emailed you last time. We thank you for everything you have done for us. Ejigayehu is also very very happy. I love you bye bye…

From Ejigayehu:
To my mother. How are you doing how is your health. How are your kids. I am doing good. I am very happy you are my mother. Kidst is doing fine. And hope you guys are okay. Until we see you, miss you. I love you very much…I can’t wait until I see you.

To the father I love very much. I love you very much. How are you guys doing. We are doing well. We are happy that you are our father. Everybody is doing fine here. We are happy that you are our father. Until God gives us the opportunity to see eachother bye.

To my dear family how is your health. We are doing very well. Did you find the letters I sent you. I am waiting anxiously for the day I am going to come and we are all going to be together. AAI…I pray for you everyday…I have a lot of friends and I play with them everyday…I like the games. I am first grade..1B school is going good. I like playing swings, Demee…I like chocolate, cake, ice cream. From working I like cleaning house. I like make my bed…..In the meantime until I see you BYE…

We also have another letter from Melkem that we will translate. We still do not know who their family is. We really want to stay in touch so hope they step forward to communicate with us.

We are also happy that Ejigayehu likes to make her bed. Maybe she can teach the other kids. We received their report cards too. All is well but Ejigayehu does not have good Math or science scores...they were in the 60 %. Her music score however was 90 percent. Seems to be a perfect match for us.

We have an open house for our home tomorrow from 2-5...pray for a miracle to sell our house....

Blessings, D

ps...Martian Child is a sweet movie.

Dreams and snakes in the garage....

One of my original posts on this blog mentioned the vision I had with our children's mother handing me oranges. Well lately I have been dreaming some really strange dreams.

This part happened in real life. This week Mark pulled into the garage in our minivan. The baby was asleep in the back seat asleep. I was at the hair dresser (I am now a light haired brunette or dark blonde). Anyhow, he pulled in and was about to get out of the car and on the ledge of the garage face to face with Mark as he opened the door a 2 foot black snake curled up and looked at Mark straight in his face and stuck out his snakey tongue. Oh NO! He got back in the car..pulled the car out and called our neighbor Dan (snake killer) Rhew. Dan walked over, hoe in hand and very professionally cornered the snake and broke his neck with a blow by the hoe and shoveled him out of the garage and into the wild woods behind us. Dan said he was about 2 feet and looked like he had swallowed a mouse...OOOHHHH! YUCK!

So, I go to sleep that night and with all that is going on with building a house and adopting 3 kids, working on a CD , taking care of my kids and running the business (during a slow time) that will hopefully pay for the house etc....I tend to wake up in the middle of the night super nervous or I have strange dreams and then wake up. So, I drempt I was in a house and chased by indians with axes (or HOE's) and then they catch me and throw the axe right at the back of my neck...as I fall (in my dream) I wake up. As I wake up and think about the dream somehow I am so aware that I am weirdly the snake in the dream and Dan is the indian...ODDD DReAM......and as scary as it was to dream it was funny when I started to analyze it.

The eiffel tower....So another night I dream I am on a plane and i am thinking I am going to NY or something and then I notice I am in Paris because behind the buildings in front of me I see the eiffel tower. And I am elated. I am crying tears of joy because I was so excited to be in Paris. And I kept saying ..I didn't even know I wanted to be in Paris but I was crying like I had just won some kind of major beauty pagent or something. And then eventually the buildings were out of my way and I was gazing at the eiffel tower in awe. I wake up....

THe next day I have decided that I want the Eiffel Tower to now be my icon...place it on the fridge or something. I figured later I would go online and download a pic...then I get my new issue of More mag and turn to a gorgeous pic of the Eiffel Tower.

I really think this was meant to be a reassuring dream. God brought me to this place where I was about to see something beautiful but it was blocked by the other buildings (my fears). However, by just taking a minute to look beyond the obstacles I saw a dream coming true by gazing on the Eiffel Tower.....I also don't think it is a coincidence that it was the Eiffel TOwer which carry the ET initials of Ethiopia. So I like to focus now on the pic of the Eiffel Tower as a reminder of God blessing us with something beautiful...

Patience is a virtue I don't have ...

No new news or updates regarding our case. And in fact we know NOTHING. We had asked and our adoption director here in the states has been very communicative but in all honesty doesn't know anything so she sent a note to her person in Ethiopia. Her person in Ethiopia is waiting to hear from the Ethiopian attorney as to whether we have to wait for another court date or if we can just get resubmitted. They said on Monday they can answer that question. We also don't know what the problem was...we were told it was something that would be fixed fast but it has been several days already.....was it that they forgot to bring our paperwork....was it that a relative didn't show up....was it that something needed to be notarized or did they find out that the kids are not available for adoption at all (that is where my mind goes).....I am believing in God's perfect timing but am feeling anxious. These children have been such blessings to us already and we firmly believe that we are all appointed by God to be together as a family. Mark says that I am much more patient than he is but I really don't think so.....


Please pray because these children really want to be home by or around christmas and it is possible that if we don't hear anything next week it won't be until January...I will be fine with that as long as the children are at peace as well.

Blessings,.....deanna

20 Years of wedded bliss....

Because of all the excitement over the pending court case I forgot to announce the great milestone of celebrating 20 years of wedded bliss on November 8th to my hubby Mark. We went out to dinner on 11/3. I cried on our dinner date...due to all of the concerns about the house selling etc and then Mark reassured me. He told me that God will support us as he has. Once I got over that we reminisced about our first dates, our long hair on our wedding day. The fact that we had a yoga instructor alzheimer Unity minister who performed the ceremony in 20 minutes. At the time Mark was a jewish atheist and I was a liberal christian/lover of all things new age and Meher Baba......So I wanted the bible mentioned etc but looking back it was an odd ceremony. Amba dressed all in white and told us she would not tell us anything about the ceremony because she would improvise...still we had our best man read a couple of bible quotes. One of my friends said that was the shortest ceremonies in history. Any how Mark and I laughed as we remembered the ceremony and the fact that I had insisted that this catering hall make a carrot cake. It was awful and tasted like a carrot cake mix...ooohhhh yuck...Anyhow, we have come along way and Praise God for our marriage , our life and our family....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Didn't pass!

We are really disappointed but this is the letter we received from the agency today. We will just have to keep waiting I guess.

Deanna,

I am sorry but your case did not pass court today. It was withdrawn
(temporarily) as an error was found, it is being corrected and Gail does not
think it will cause a long delay. I have asked for more information.

I am so sorry, I know this will be a disappointment, it is a set back but a
correctible one.

Merrily

Please pray this doesn't end up being drawn out. I have no more information than this until I get some from Merrily.

D

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tomorrow is Court! November 13th!

Okay tomorrow 11/13 is the big day for us. Our case will go before the Ethiopia Court. Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us. Please pray. Also, we have been told that we may not even know tomorrow but may have to wait a day or two before we hear. If we pass that means that the adoption decree has been given and then we just need to wait for an embassy date and can travel..hopefully in a few weeks. Also, received some amazing pictures of our kids today. If we pass I will then be able to post the pics....

Thanks to all for all of the support...keep us in your prayers.
deanna

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Roots!


How do you know for sure when it is time for a retouch on your hair? When you are sitting at dinner with your hair pulled back and your two year old says to you..."Mommy where your blonde hair go?" OH my...I had been thinking about making an appointment , never said a word to anyone...but had no idea it was that bad...out of the mouths of babes...my oldest daugher started laughing...

And Andrew is coming home with an electric guitar....his birthday present. He says his favorite song now is "another one bites the dust." And is determined to start a band with his friend Austin called the "Batteries" "Get it" He says to me..."both Austin and I have names starting with the letter 'A' ....so we will be double "a's" Or "The batteries"...He is turning 10 on 11/28th but we are celebrating his birthday with 10 ///10 year olds here tomorrow night for a party...

Pray for our upcoming court date in Ethiopia on 11/13...We would like to travel the first week of December to get the kids...

Blessings,
D

Friday, November 2, 2007

Prayer Request!

Please keep our family and kids in your prayers. Things are moving really slowly for all of the cases in Ethiopia right now. It would appear that there are new requirements asking that any relatives be present at Court. This is difficult because of transportation, communication etc. Plus the people are afraid to show up because they are really poor and believe the courts will force them to take care of the children of extended relatives even when they have no money. This is not true but it tends to deter people from being present.

In our case, the mother is deceased, Ejigayehu's father is deceased and Kidist and Yared's father is HIV positive. The grandmother is alive but cannot care for them.Please pray the courts on 11/13 are lenient and that whatever relatives that need to be there are present and the kids can come home to our family......

D

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Court Date!

Court was rescheduled until 11/13. So we will hear more then. Let's pray it turns out that we get passed then. The agency director told me that the judge resched because there were many family members that did not show up. They hear these cases in groups so even though my kids don't really have many family members they resched the entire group ..I think..And if there are any family member (grandparents etc)..I am hoping our agency will take them to court themselves so the kids can move on with their lives.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Very Impatient!

I must admit that this process has been really fast so I shouldn't be impatient, HOWEVER...they told me we had a court date today...which technically was at some point in the early morning or middle of the night last night....(ethiopia time) and I haven't heard A THING....so I am just hanging around being IMPATIENT...but trying to act cool like some kind of middle school girl waiting for the boy she has a crush on to call...I wait but don't call them.....I may call tomorrow if I don't hear anything...Just wanted to give an update..

BTW...Andrew now has the fever that Matea had....baby is better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Court Date TOMORROW!

Our Court Date is tomorrow 10/25. If it is not rescheduled (could happen) we will find out Friday or Monday about travel. I am FREAKING OUT...I don't even have drawers for the kids cause so much is in storage and haven't even thought about packing...SOmeone PAHLEASE HELP ME....I am calling my friend Monica to go 'hair stuff" shopping. Good to keep your priorities....

Pray for us...also have a Dr's appointment today. Pray I am healthy etc.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Love Letters!

Okay..I am just about undone with the blessings that still are pouring into us from God himself. I just received two sweet letters from Ejigayehu. One is to us and the other is to Grandma and Grandpa (Shirley and Barney). What a delight it is to sweet talk eachother from across the globe.

Dear my Grandma and Grandpa,
How are you. Tank you for the leter. I very love you. I love dog. When I came american I want allways see you. I pray for you Ok. You can call me Eigi . Love Eigi....

Isn't that a sweet letter. Just want to say we still need to talk to her before we nickname her or rename her...See what they are calling her now. What their preferences are etc.

Okay here is the letter to our family.

Dear My Family,

How are you. I am good. I love you, I am praying for you ok. Pelys mom and Dad come to and pick we up at Layla. I want to sing with you and pray at church with you. I very love songs. I want you come to Layla soon. I get many leter from you. Tank you OK...kidist and Yared and me all love You....Ejigayehu Falchook

MY GOODNESS I am just over the moon with these sweet letters and just wanted to share.

D

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Let's Celebrate for Martha and Melkem!

I don't have any concrete news on the status of Martha and Melkem. But I do know that there may be a family that is dossier ready to adopt them and if that isn't true I also know that there is interest by another family to adopt them. SO, I just want to praise God that these girls will have their dreams and prayers come true by having a family in 2008. I can't wat to meet them...I might have to hold back the good news but it will make me happy knowing in my heart that they will not have to worry much longer. And that other children at Layla House will find homes this year. I think of all the children that are not fortunate enough to even make it into a great orphanage and just try desparately to exist on the streets.

Mark had a sweet dream today about Kidist and Ejigayehu...he said he was in the airport with them on the way home watching them eating chicken nuggets with ketchup all over their faces and blissfully happy to be coming home to America and to our other children....what a sweet dream....

Last night Matea still had a fever....she would not leave my side. I literally held her for hours. My sweet 9 year old boy Andrew noticed that I didn't have dinner. I told him I wasn't that hungry but it was now 8 pm and apparently he didn't believe me. My sweet son left the room for a few minutes and came back with a salami, cheese sandwich (DRY-no mayo or nothing) and a full banana skin and all on a plate. He was so sweet in bringing me dinner. I am not a salami fan but I felt like I had heard some biblical words of wisdom about never turning down a meal from a child (I think it was actually Erma Bombeck)...but anyhow, it felt like a sin to say "Sorry andrew I don't like Salami" So I ate the sandwich because I was so touched that he thought about me...It was delicious..How thoughtful...he even brought the plate back and came back with a chocolate muffin...the next morning I found cheese wrappers on the floor. I love being a mom...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

God's outpouring!

Mark and I spent the past couple of days in the studio this week laying down vocals to our next christian CD. What a blessing this was. I was so nervous about finding a decent studio in Raleigh and was so impressed with the studio we are using. The engineer is amazing and it has been so professional. I did have to ask the engineer if they could not burn incense in the studio when I was doing vocals.. Yuck! Very 70's with LAVA LAMPS etc..but sonically very good. We completed the lead vocal on 4 of the 13 songs. So it may be possible that the main vocals would be completed before the kids come home which would be great. I used the AMY GRANT trick in eating Lays potato chips when your vocal chords get tight. Very fattening but effective trick.

Negative news this week though is that we found out that the group ahead of us had their court dates delayed now back to 10/29 meaning they will travel to Ethiopia end of November. This originally was going to be around the time we would travel. So we are still just waiting for a court date.

Baby has had a fever for 3 days now and threw up tonight so we will go to the Doctor tomorrow. Usually the fever's break after a day or two so this is too long for us. Pray for her. She had a fever about 3 weeks ago with a really gross throat which was negative for strep. It went away we put her back into preschool and then caught the gunk again.

In the meantime, we are not sure but there may be a family for Melkem and Martha. So i am happy for them. Also, some friends have reconnected with me that may be adopting in Ethiopia soon. A couple of people have mentioned they are starting the process...so I am praying that all of my friends find their children and that they are courageous to walk in God's journey for them.

We discovered that Ejigayehu is 51 inches tall and wears a shoe size of 13.5. But she is skinny. Yared is 42inches tall and the woman forgot to get Kidists sizes.

BTW...we are welcoming any second hand or gently used clothing in the sizes of girls 6-10 and boys 4-6..

Good night.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Letters from Kids and Martha and Melkem.

Please pray really hard that we can find a family to Melkem and Martha (Ej's friends) When I think that there is no mother advocating for these kids it makes me really sad.. So I take their pleas to me very seriously. Martha is 9 and Melkem is 11. We are not adopting more than our three kids but I really want to find a family for these girls and pray that someone comes to our agency at AAI www.adoptionadvocates.org and will adopt them. They have been there for two years and are really close to Ej especially. Here are the letters.

From Yared:

To my dear Family,

How are you doing. I am doin good. I am a happy child. Here I am playing with my friend and I like to play with car toys. I like all kinds of food. I can’t wait until you come. I love you ….my love and peace be with you…Yared

From Kidist:

To my dear family,

How are you doing,

I love you very much. I can’t wait until you come. I like the color yellow and I like doing gymnastics. I like to eat cake, chocolate and ice cream. I like the dolls made in persons image. I like dogs, cats and rabbits. My favorite subject is math. I am sorry that I haven’t written you a letter until today. I am very glad that you are my family.

From Ejigayehu,

To my dear Family,

How are you doing. I am very happy because you are trying to find a family for Martha and Melkem. So When I found out your were trying to help out my friends it made me happy. I always tell her good things about you. Whatever you are doing for my friends it is like you are doing it for me. And I am counting the days until you come. Please give a kiss to my Dad, sisters and brother

Letter from Martha:

Dear Ejigayehu Mother,

I wish you and your family full health. Even though you are not my mother I see you as my mother. I thank you for all the effort you are putting to find me and my sister a family. I have been praying and asking God to find me a family so I can be with Ejigayehu.

Let us know if there is anything we can do. I like your pictures a lot. Please tell Lydia and Naty hello for me and thank you for me. We want to thank you for everything you have done. We pray that God will pay you back. I continue to pray for you and your family. I love you from the bottom of my heart. If it is God’s will and I can come to America I would like us to be friends.

Until we talk with another letter. Good bye, Martha

From: Melkem

Dear Whom I love Ejigayehu’s mother,

How are you doing? I am doing great.

I wanna thank you for all of the effort to get us a family. God will pay you back for what you have done. My hope is that you can find a family so we can go to America too with Ejigayehu. But God is the one who can do everything.

Please say hello to Lydia, Tsetuna, Erksalem for me.


Thank you and I love you,

God Bless You…Bye..Melken

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting closer/finally shopped!

Both groups before me have passed court and we are up for a court date any day now. That means we'll probably get a court date around 10/23 (guessing) and then if we pass court I think we leave 3 weeks after which now puts us at the end of November....but in the world of international adoption that could mean a week sooner or later....Anyhow, I am getting excited and very nervous.

Funny thing: Last night Matea, Andrew, Mark and I went to hear the African Children's CHoir at Duke. There were only about 20 of us who came to their dress rehearsal (they didn't advertise just called some people they knew to come)...anyhow, Matea was quite upset when we left because she didn't understand why we weren't bringing our kids home. Apparently, she thought that Ejigayehu, Kidist and Yared were on stage. We tried to explain to her (she is only 2 and a half) that they were still in Africa but I am convinced she thinks we left our kids on stage in the auditorium at Duke.

So, I also attempted to register a LIST at Target of potential gifts for our family. Many people are asking and we do not have any clothing for girls ages 6-8...so I bought a few things today but realized that every thing costs 3x's as much (DUHHHH???) so I will try to put a link to our gift registry..it is not under BABY registry but rather under Lists..I think...You can look for my name Deanna Falchook or LIst name is FALCHOOK ADOPTION created for: Yared Falchook (the easiest of the 3 names) and list ID (hope you don't need this) is 012399301018007....

Don't officially have sizes but looking at size 6 or a little smaller for Kidist, Ejigayehu 7 or 8, Yared 4...but have no clue about shoes...they told me they would send me sizes before we left. Good thing otherwise the kids will be barefoot..

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Do You Know My Mommy"

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking with Brigette from Alabama who just brought her kids home from Ethiopia. She wanted to deliver us a message from Ejigayehu. Brigette went to Layla House and Ejigayehu and her friend greeted her and made a point of asking her if she knew her Mommy and Daddy in North Carolina. She then brought out the photo album to point out her family and then asked her "when are they coming to get us?"...So she is very excited and anticipating coming home. And the woman also told me the kids don't even eat the food until they pray for every meal....which made me think that I needed to be more diligent praying at all of the other meals besides dinner ....these kids are truly going to keep us accountable. They also love to sing and I am over the moon with how much love I feel for them...

Also, the house sheet rocking is finished....but still looking at January to move in...So we will have MANY children in this house before we move to the big one..very cozy....

D

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Group V!

The previous post said LABOR PAINS...man was I feeling them (and mom I am not premenopausal...I don't think). I am in NY today and God has totally blessed us with replenishing our business account (a huge relief for a future mom of 6)...AND...I just got this letter from our agency..

HI Mark and Deanna,
Your case was submitted to court today as part of Group V. In the next two weeks, a court date will be set and we will inform you of that date. Gail, our adoption coordinator in Ethiopia, will be scheduling visa interviews at the US Embassy in Addis for families who plan to travel. So, please confirm for us your plans regarding travel. Will you travel? If so, one or both of you? If you will travel will you have room to carry supplies for AAI?
Thanks and congratulations!

I AM SO EXCITED and scared...I read this and was thrilled then realized I had no idea what this means. So I called our agency AAI...This means basically that documents will be reviewed and in two weeks we'll have a court date that will probably be two weeks from then...AND then we travel 4 weeks after that which means...MERRY CHRISTMAS to the whole Falchook clan. Meanwhile, I don't even have underwear for these children or shoes....our house isn't done so we will be camping on mattresses in the house we are trying to sell...but looks like the beauty of it all is that we will be moving into the house as a family......

Keep us in your prayers...pray for my friends the MESTAS who are also waiting for a date. I am praying we travel together. And pray for ANdrew and Matea who both have had really high fevers and bad sore throats this week...but no strep...thank you JESUS....

Cousin Connie....still don't have the sizes of my kids for clothes so I have no clue what size to buy...maybe things with elastic...

D

Friday, September 28, 2007

Labor pains!

I am in my NY apartment tonight. I am thinking of how blessed we are to have had this place for a couple of years but we are not renewing our lease. So by November 30th we have to get all of the furniture down south somehow. This place has truly been a blessing to many though. Tonight I came in to find a dozen white roses, amazing chocolates and a CD that the Suzanne Nelson from the African Children's choir had left here. Suzanne had stayed here for a few days. We also have had people from our NC church Kings Park here, Renee Swopes from Proverbs 31 ministries and my new friends the Mestas. My friends Wayne Graham and his wife Linda also stayed here ( I just saw them at the Raleigh airport on their way to Argentina).

I totally feel as if I going through some kind of spiritual labor. I am crying at the drop of a hat. But it is not because of some regret but because of my realization of how blessed we are. I have a great husband, great kids and great "soon to be" kids. And I have a wonderful, mom, dad sisters etc. And many amazing cousins, friends. Life is so sweet ....and eventhough I wake up in the middle of the night frequently very scared about things I am also reassured in knowing that there is not doubt in my mind that this adoption, house is all a part of God's plan for our family.

So i am observing that I am introspective....humbled, teary and so grateful.....I am truly in the midst of practicing faith right now...the unknown is terrifying but feeling God is indescribable. I cannot wait to see these children and start out our lives together as a big family. I cannot wait to pray and help them to heal. I cannot wait to see Sam, Andrew and matea embrace their siblings. I cannot wait to hear I LOVE YOU from the lips of our new children. Mostly, if we can fill their hearts with joy and laughter than I truly believe that we have done our job. And if we are blessed to see our kids married, grandchildren...I will remember that their mother in Africa never had that opportunity and just the luxury of living a peaceful, healthy life will be an answer to her prayers....thank you GOD!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ejigayehu's letter..

I just reread the letter we received today from Ejigayehu and have to type the words to show you why it made us cry...I am not correcting grammar or spelling:

Dear My Family,

how are You, I am Good> I am so happy to have you as new family. I am excited to you come to Ethiopia. I pray avery day to God and I believe God. My favorite color is Blu, Rad, Yellow, My favorite subbject in school marh and English. My favorite food is ice cream and cake. My favorite sport is jumprope. I have best friends at Layla house. They are sisters. There name is Matha and melkam and I want adopt them and I don't have any nicknames? I want nickname. I love you VERY much...Love Ejigayehu Falchook

Then there is a big heart with GOD IS LOVE in it and another heart with LOVE IS GOD in it and a flower vase with I LOVE MY FAMILY on it...on the back is a giant heart with LOVE IN IT...around the heart it says..." I love my mom and aI loe my dad and sisther and brother....

GULP...I am undone....what a beautiful day this has been.....

I am beggin anyone reading this to not stop at GO to adopt older children....

My Amazing Children....and plea for two orphan girls.


Today was a special day. We received our letter from Ejigayehu. She is so precious. THere were about 5 letters in the envelope. I felt like it was valentines day. She told us she loved us and " I pray for you avery day"...there were drawings of hearts with I LOVE YOU in it and a cross with ILOVEYOU in it ...what a blessing she is already. Ejigayehu is requesting a family for her two best friends Marta 9 and Melkem 11...two sisters. It touches me so much that in her letter she took the time to look out for her friends. So, if anyone knows of anyone looking to adopt two sweet children...let us know. Mother Hubbard's cupboard is full here in NC...so the next best thing is advocating for them.

I had a date with my gorgeous son Andrew tonight. I had spent some time individually with the girls but needed a date with him. We went to the movies. We went to the dollar store to save alot of money on candy...brought water from home and paid for one popcorn. On the way out of the dollar store he told me to go outside...I said WHY...he said "just go"...I did and then asked him why...he said he found a quarter and thought I would be mad but he kept it. I slightly scolded him but he insisted no one was there and the store owner said it was okay. We saw the WORST MOVIE EVER EVER EVER... "Mr Woodcock" we left the movie early. As I was leaving the movie Andrew pulls out a ring from his pocket and says "Here mom, I got you a ring." I started to cry because I realized he had used his money at the dollar store to buy me a cheap but shiny ring...AWWWW..then he pulled out three dollars he had been saving and then had us get our pictures taken together...I told him it was the best date ever....GOD IS SO GOOD...my children are all amazing....

Dad's 80th BIrthday week!






Just returned from a sweet time in Rockford for my Dad's 80th birthday. All of my sisters showed up and my sweet baby Matea also came. We had cake in the Methodist church in Steward, Illinois. And counted 53 guests. My dad also sang "I dream of Jeannie"...he has a beautiful tenor voice (That's Dad's sister and our beautiful Aunt Pauline who is extremely talented, playing piano). My wonderful cousin Nora had to stay behind on Saturday because of a giant kidney stone issue(but look at how beautiful she is with this picture with her and her friend Greg the day before THE ATTACK OF THE STONE). We are praying for her. Loved seeing all of my wonderful cousins and relatives who traveled far to see my Dad. But it was all too short. Here are some pictures.


And here we are with my mom. Debbie, Denise and Donna...myself and baby Matea.

Here is a Pic of all of us with Dad

Sweet picture of cousin Pam and my baby Matéa. Pam looks like she could be Matéa's mommy.

Tried to post a picture of my day with the Schneider family but couldn't figure out how to rotate the pic. I am still a novice BLOGGER......

Monday, September 10, 2007

Letters and pictures! AND school at the Orphanage!

We are so excited to hear that we will be receiving a letter from Ejigayehu in the mail soon. On e of our new online friends was in Ethiopia and is sending one to us. I am thrilled. I will be in Illinois when we receive it but am just thrilled. We have sent several letters their way. The last one was sent to them with 6 self addressed envelopes in hopes of a letter to be returned to us from them.

Also last week we received some very sweet pictures of the kids....So things are going well. We are doing some last minute cleaning to get our house ready to be on the market in two weeks.

Our new house is coming along but still hasn't gome to dry wall yet.

I am cutting and pasting this information on our kids school experience while they are at the orphanage. Yared and Kidist are in two different kindergarten classes. Kidist's class is a little more advanced than Yared's. Ejigayehu is in a first grade class. Sound like an excellent program considering it is an orphanage. Here is the info:

"There was a question a couple of weeks ago about the Layla School and I asked
Ivy, who coordinates things at Layla House, to write about the school for you.
I want to add one comment, that is that Julie Hehn has been working for the past
year and a half to upgrade the school, suggesting and bringing cirriculum,
providing training for teachers helping with things like establishing files for
the kids and improving the reporting. The school has come a long way since it
was held in a narrow dirt floor lean-to with no lighting at the old Layla House.

Here is what Ivy wrote:

School at AAI Layla House



Many parents/potential parents have expressed interest in learning about the
school at AAI Layla House. Julie Hehn is the curriculum consultant for AAI and
has put together quite an impressive school at AAI Layla House. We have a staff
of 11 extremely well qualified and dedicated Ethiopian teachers that teach a
wide variety of subjects. The school curriculum was created with the knowledge
that the children will soon enter into the American school system, therefore
classes are taught with that goal in mind. Subjects include: English, Math,
Science, Library, Music, History, Geography, Amharic, Computers, Sports/P.E.,
Crafts, Family, Ethics, Health, Religion and America Class.



Currently, we have 2 kindergarten grades and 6 elementary school grades. The
elementary school grades are not necessarily grouped by age, but more by
academic ability and school experience of the child. The school runs throughout
the year because of the transient nature of AAI Layla House and runs on a 3
month semester schedule. The school day starts at 9am and ends at 3pm with an
hour break for lunch. All classes are 45 minutes long, except for computer lab
and crafts which are 1.5 hours long. All classes are taught on the Layla House
compound with the exception of computer lab which is just down the road from
Layla House.



English and Math are scheduled every day. Library, music, crafts and physical
education are scheduled twice a week. Other classes are scheduled once a week
for each grade level. In computer class the students get hands-on experience
using a computer and running software programs. They use special software
programs designed to teach them English and other programs designed to teach
basic computer skills, including Rosetta stone.



One of the unique classes at Layla House is America Class. This class is
currently taught to the older grades (maybe others in the future) and is taught
by our American volunteers. In America class, the students are taught many
different topics dealing with American culture such as what a school day in
America would be like, going to doctors in America, safety issues in America,
family life in America, recreation activities in America, etc., anything the
volunteers come up with that will help the students get a feel for what American
life will be like.



We've recently started a scheduled games class where the children learn to play
with games such as puzzles, legos, play food, dishes and utensils, dolls, match
box cars, cards, and board games. This helps them learn to play together,
share, and put the toys away in a neat and orderly fashion. We are fortunate
that many games and toys have been donated for these activities.



After school we have set aside an hour for homework, tutoring and reading. The
children all sit together in the dining room to do their homework, read library
books, get tutored by the volunteers, and attend math club or English club run
by the tutors.



At the end of every semester, the students are tested and evaluated, report
cards are written, and the students are promoted to the next grade if warranted.
We also have an awards ceremony where the top 3 students from each grade level
receive a certificate of achievement and a gift acknowledging their hard work
and good grades. This serves as incentive for students to continue in their
academic studies and strive to become the best students they can be.



Before a child leaves for America, he or she is given an exit exam. The exit
assessment and report cards are designed to assist parents and the future
American school system place the child in the correct grade level.



AAI is dedicated to teaching our children and to help them be successful in
their new life in America. We strive to create a great school system and are
constantly improving our curriculum and classes to reach our goal of successful
integration of our children in American society.



We would like to point out that most of the school supplies, many many books,
craft supplies, computer and programs, teaching supplies, and other items that
are needed by the school have been donated by adoptive parents and carried to
Ethiopia in luggage. We are very grateful as these items enhance the learning
experience greatly."



Ivy Dash


Merrily Ripley
Adoption Advocates International
Read about us at

Monday, August 27, 2007

USCIS Approval

Yay we received our USCIS 171H approval which means that we are officially permitted to adopt from Ethiopia. Our dossier is in Ethiopia our kids received our welcome bags and will be receiving several letters soon. We found an Ethiopia Christian church that the kids can visit every now and again on a Saturday. They will be going to our regular church at Kings Park though. OUr new house is sched to be ready near the end of November around the same time the kids could be coming home. So we are thrilled and overwhelmed......Keep us in your prayers. I can't post any pics of the kids but can post some of our family and house soon...

Love,
D

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Back from NY!

Just returned from a weekend in NYC. It was raining and really cold while it was 100 degrees in NC. No real new news. We are just still waiting for the courts to reopen to be able to bring our kids home. Our house is moving along. All of our brick is up and now we are moving into a lighting meeting. We will be going to Charlotte this Thursday night for a fingerprinting appointment on Friday. So we are very excited and happy and looking for pictures of our kids. We are spending sometime this week making letters for our kids....they will find out about us around 8/23.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Fingerprinting date! And Birthday!

Well we have a fingerprinting date and will be in Charlotte on friday 8/17 at 8am. Have to give a huge thumbs up to the NC USCIS. I sent them a note and told them about our referral and they expedited the date for us. YAY! AND we heard that we may be able to get these kids home by CHRISTMAS. Also, had a great week...closed on our office space. Had an electrical meeting at the house. The builders know our situation and will try very hard to get our house ready by christmas for the kids....AND I had a great birthday today. Of course, to your average person this may not seem exciting but I loved my birthday. I cleaned the studio today. Went grocery shopping with the kids . Came home to Christi and Amber (the sweetest and funnest -that's not a word-girls ever)...the doorbell rang and they met me with a lit margarita cake..so good. THANKS GALS... While cleaning came across an old letter from Grandma jones that started with "I am not sure if it is your birthday but I wanted to wish you a happy birthday." which of course started me crying tears of joy...feeling as if my Grandmother is wishing me a happy birthday all the way from heaven...Andrew made me a bracelet and a homemade card with all kids on it. Matea kissed me a million times...Sam folded the laundry and my childhood friend Debbie Anderson Bex called me to wish me a happy birthday as did my sisters and girlfriend PAULA....life is great....And earlier in the week my new beloved friends Wayne and Linda came with us to walk through our house and prayed over the house...AMEN!