Saturday, June 12, 2010

Can you believe it?!?!

A year ago today Jim and I were in Ethiopia meeting Alexa and Liana for the first time!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year Wishes

We hope you're all off to a wonderful start in the new year! Thanks to those of you that have played a part in building our family through the adoption process. We're so appreciative and look forward to sharing in the year to come!

Click to play this Smilebox greeting: Happy 2010!!!
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Today is also the celebration of Genna, which is Christmas in Ethiopia. We're looking forward to meeting up with some other adoptive families at an Ethiopian restaurant on Sunday!

Friday, January 1, 2010

So, did you take PICTURES in Ethiopia, or what??!!

Yep! We sure did! We elected to not share the birth family photos, as we've not yet shown them to Alexa and Liana. We also exclude most of the staff photos for their privacy, though they were very special people indeed and a super important part of our trip and our girls' lives! So, don't worry that the people who just got home last week have photos posted already....just enjoy them all!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Our Ethiopia Trip

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Court in the Chi

Today the fam headed to the Daley Center for our refinalization appearance. As we had never met the girls before the adoption was finalized in Ethiopia, they came to the United States on a visa that required refinalization here for citizenship and such. We had a really wonderful attorney who explained everything as we went, and was super prepared and organized. We got to the waiting area with about 15 minutes to spare. First, we went to the Sheriff's Department so the girls could be served with the court papers. Then we headed back up to the play room to wait for the court calls to begin. Jim, the 4 kids and I were called fairly quickly and asked to approach the bench. I'm pretty sure the Q & A in there was all of three minutes and the judge granted the interim order. We'll get a final order in February, but we do not appear for that. In the meantime, our lawyer will also enter a motion to adjust Alexa's age by one year, making her 5 on Christmas!

Some themes totally stood out today:

  • People can be so super nice, and we sometimes don't expect that. From the security at the Daley center both on the way in and out, to the lawyer and "courtroom people", to the random passers-by that complimented our family and were greeted with Lex and Liana blowing kisses and waving, we came in contact with a lot of nice people. Heck, our lawyer even let Liana drag her wheeled "work bag" all over the Daley Center today as we completed our steps. These were people that were clearly busy, and just took time for a smile or kind words. Love that!

  • We're going to end up at McDonald's for "celebrations" until the end of time.

  • We have really awesome kids. The little girls seem so very acclimated, yet are still in awe and appreciative of new things like the city skyline with "castles", a teddy bear from Grandma and the snow. Mark is so thoughtful and kind, and, even when the judge asked him how he does with all those sisters, he sincerely said he likes it. Tess, and the others for that matter, keeps us laughing; she's really growing up a lot in the big sis role. They look out for each other in crowded playrooms, like the one today, and, sure, they tattle and wrestle like its going out of style, but you can see their goodness and love for each other and us.

  • Sometimes, when people are parents, they have to do crazy things like climb to the 3rd row of the minivan on the Dan Ryan to get the middle girl a pull up and help her put it on while seat belted because you've been in the car waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long and she just can't wait...hypothetically. Sure beats pee pants in court :)!

Sadly, the weather was on the extra cruddy side, so we didn't make any other stops in the city, but I totally look forward to sharing that with Alexa and Liana. We're so excited for the time together over winter break and the first Christmas with our girls at home!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Six months already?!

It is hard to believe that the girls joined our family 6 months ago, yet it seems like they've always been here. On Wednesday, we'll go to court at the Daley Center in Chicago to initiate United States re-adoption. This is where official name changes take place, and in a month, the final decree will be issued and the girls will be U.S. Citizens. Due to the type of their visa, they arrived here as permanent residents. Alexa also celebrates her first birthday with us this week (#5!); her big brother and sister are making sure she understands the birthday concept and that Alexa and Liana are ready for Christmas!! Below is what they had to say about our bigger family:

This is Mark. I am Alexa, Liana, and Tessa's brother. I'm 7, and I am in second grade. (My mom is typing as I talk, but these are all our words.) Our sisters have been here for half a year today. Alexa really likes Princess and the Frog, and we are going to see it on Tuesday. Her birthday is on Christmas. Liana likes Cinderella and likes to play with me. They share a room with Tessa. Liana is in a bunk bed with Tessa. Alexa has her own bed. I like Alexa and Liana in our family because they are funny. Alexa and Liana like Star Wars like me. Now that we have 4 kids, it is more work for Mommy and Daddy and I help out a lot. I help them get their clothes on and brush their teeth.

This is Tessa. I am the big sister, and I am 5 1/2. Alexa and Liana are so cute. I love them so much. Happy birthday, Alexa, and I can't wait until Christmas. Alexa and Liana rock. One time I got toothpaste in Alexa's hair, and I put water in it to clean it. I like to fix Alexa's hair. Alexa and Liana are going to love their presents we will give them for Christmas. Alexa and Liana were so funny when they first came here and they are still funny.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Four months and counting!

I've noticed a common theme in many adoption blogs- it seems sometimes the kids come home, and after swearing to not be one of "those bloggers," some time passes between posts. Sometimes lots of time...sometimes three months...sometimes even MORE time than between posts while you were waiting for the children in the first place! Now there's also the occasional promises of "I'm back and I'm going to update my pants off!" I, hypothetically, am guilty of allll the above. Cripes, you haven't even seen our trip pictures yet!!

You can see this, though:

This picture is from the tail end of August, and gives just a little glimpse into their fun personalities. It seems as if Alexa and Liana have been a part of our family for longer than we waited for them, which is faaaaar from the case. Everyone asks if they get along well with Mark and Tessa, and our answer is that they really are just like siblings. That means there is lots of fun and the occasional challenge :). Both girls continue to be pretty healthy and their English is EXPLODING! Alexa appears to be at least a year older than her stated age, according to our dentist (Shout out to DeLacey Dental!). Her six year molars are on their way in and she has now lost two teeth. (I thought I was going to have to crazy glue them back in her mouth until Tessa lost her first tooth, but she took it like a champ.) She also started preschool this week at the Brokaw Early Learning Center, which is part of our public school district. Liana will be screened for preschool in April when she turns 3ish. The girls are pretty adventurous and are at swim lessons with their older brother and sister as I type. Time for me to go check 'em out!

More later....I promise :).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some long overdue photos...

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: 1st Month Together
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Check out the scrapbook of our first month home (which ended three weeks ago-whoops!). It tells such a small part of what this experience has meant to us and the joy (and occasional challenges :) ) of adding to our family. The music is not Ethiopian, for any of you cultural gurus out there, but it is lively...and iTunes and Smilebox don't always get along so well! Thanks for all of your encouragement and support in getting to this point!