3.31.2009

MONDAY night - tradition & culture

After a very emotional day, Robel (our AMAZING travel coordinator), took us for a traditional Ethiopian meal.
Because the meal is eaten with our hands, the wait staff provided hand cleanser and water before and after dinner was served.

Dinner was served on a table called a mesab. The various Ethiopian dishes were ladled onto a thin bread, called injera. The injera was pinched-off and used to pick up the different meat & veggies. It was actually very good!!

Also included with the dinner experience was traditional dance. Three couples performed various dances that represented the different regions of Ethiopia. They were fantastic -- really gave us a feel for our son's culture.

3.26.2009

Headed West

Our trip is coming to an end - we head back to the states tomorrow
night. We've had a wonderful time!

Other than being sick, Micah is doing great and is such a cuddler!
It's amazing how quickly he has accepted up!

Our paper work appeared at the consulate for our appointment, even
thought the visa center still hasn't received it......MIRACLE!!!

--
Follow our adoption journey at www.vinceandalisa.blogspot.com
Ethiopia referral received 11/25/08
Waiting for China since 7/31/07

3.25.2009

Update

I have to keep this short, or it won't post.

We're doing well, but last night was a looong night! We had some
formula issues & Micah's cough is getting worse. We hope to find a DR
today.

We also have our consulate appt today - still not sure about our paper work.


--
Follow our adoption journey at www.vinceandalisa.blogspot.com
Ethiopia referral received 11/25/08
Waiting for China since 7/31/07

3.22.2009

In Ethiopia

Well, we made it & are settling into the guest house...which is
wonderful & right in the city. At this moment, we are waiting for
another family (Sapps) to arrive.
For the past two days we've just hung out and soaked in the culture!!
This morning our friend, Robel, took us to an international church
here in Addis -- there were people from ALL over the world! Some
visiting, and many who have made Ethiopia their home (and I can see
why). I love experiencing other cultures...it always reminds me of
how we who live in the US often forget the art of "living".
Tomorrow we meet Micah and spend the afternoon with him. I'm so
nervous...how will he respond to us?...will I know what to
do? Indescribable!!
He will stay at the transition home for the last time tomorrow night,
and then remain with us from Tuesday on!!
Even in our nervousness, we are acutely aware of God's goodness and are
overwhelmed with joy beyond words!!

Thank you for your many prayers & recent encouragement! May God richly
bless your spiritual investment into our lives, and Micah Yosep's!!

--
Follow our adoption journey at www.vinceandalisa.blogspot.com
Ethiopia referral received 11/25/08
Waiting for China since 7/31/07

We're here!!

Sent from my iPhone

3.20.2009

Hanging out in airport, ET-bound

Well, we're about 2 hours from departure...getting more and more
excited. It'll take us about 17 hours to get to Addis (ET is is 9 hrs
ahead of CST). We'll have all-day Sat & Sun to enjoy the
culture...then...we meet Micah Yoseph on Mon.

Our paper work is still in limbo, but at this point we cannot worry
about it. We're going to enjoy this experience, and continue to trust
God with the details!

I'm so overwhelmed (in a good way) too much so to even to share my
thoughts/feelings. The man at the ticket counter asked if we would be
"returning with an infant" and I almost cried...could only shake my
head yes.

We also discovered that a friend from Branson, Andy Braner, is on our
flight (he's taking a group of students to ET). When we were in
Springfield, we went to the Braner's once a month for an adoption
fellowship group. They adopted from Rwanda -- and are adopting from
Rwanda again, and China. What a wonderful surprise & blessing!! We
may be on the same return flight home, too.

Sun night we'll meet up with the Sapps -- they're adopting a 6 year
old girl. They seem like a wonderful family & we're looking forward
to spending the week with them!!

Please continue to pray for our travels, paper work, & amazing
experiences to come!!


Sent from my iPhone

3.17.2009

Go, Papers, GO!!!!

One week from tomorrow we will have our appointment at the US Consulate in Ethiopia. The purpose of this appointment is to obtain a visa for Micah, so he can enter the US with us.

At this point, there is still paper work that needs to move through the ranks here in the US, in order to be available for the Consulate on the 25th.

It's God-sized do-able...so we're headed-out on a wing and a prayer (lots of prayer). God has brought us so far, and we TRUST He will continue to attend to all the details of this adoption!!

Please pray with us for these documents to get to the Consulate before the 25th! Please pray that every person involved in our case would have a God-given sense of urgency to process our case. It's currently with USCIS; it needs to go to the NVC, then to the Consulate.

If it doesn't make it to the Consulate by the 25th, then we'll be delayed in Ethiopia for an additional week. Not a super big deal...but it does add extra expense and more time-off work for Vince.

That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring––not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”––in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:16-21
We continue to place our hope (as did Abraham, leaving us a beautiful example) IN:
  • the living God
  • our risen Savior, who intercedes on our behalf
  • the faith that God has given us, which protects us from doubt & fear

3.16.2009

Peumonia Rising

Two new studies released Tuesday show that about one and a half million people across the globe die annually of pneumonia, half of them children under the age of five, the American Free Press reported.
Jean Marie Okwo-Bel of the World Health Organization said pneumonia is a leading killer disease in the world among children under the age of five—resulting in more deaths than AIDS, measles and malaria combined.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1649154/pneumonia_deaths_approaching_2_million_annually/

Very sadly, I know two of the children who contributed to these statistics. It just doesn't make sense!! Drugs exist to treat these children...even vaccines....

One week from today we will meet our boy. He's been so healthy & strong over these past several months, but please continue to pray for his health!! He's a fighter, but we don't take that for granted!!!

3.13.2009

Yoseph John Martin

Yup- that's our son's legal name. We received a copy of his Ethiopian birth certificate today!! It was surreal seeing our names listed as 'mother' and 'father' -- the certificate lists our names in both English and Amharic. What a joy!

In Ethiopia, a son has a given first name, but then takes his father's first name as his middle name. (Yes, Vince is John Vincent) -- hence, Yoseph John Martin. We actually contemplated naming Micah 'Micah John' -- but, we decided too many names.

We'll have to re-adopt Micah once he's home. This is legally necessary because we were not present for the adoption proceedings in Ethiopia (AWAA has our power-of-attorney). Once he is re-adopted, he will receive an Alabama birth certificate, and, his final legal name:
Micah Yoseph Martin!!

3.12.2009

It's coming together...

God is good!!

Tickets are booked!!
We head to DC on the 19th, and then to Ethiopia on the 20th!!! We plan leave Ethiopia on the 27th, and arrive in Birmingham on the 28th.

Did you notice 'plan' was italicized???

Here's why: USCIS has agreed to expedite our paper work to the consulate, but some families have had a hiccup with the visa office. If we encounter the same problem, we could be delayed a week or so for our return home. We're not too panicked though-- most countries require that adoptive families remain in-country for 2-6 weeks anyway...so if we make it home in 8-16 days, AWESOME!! (But 8 days would be most excellent -- Vince needs to get back to work)

I feel like I have so much to do, yet feel very calm at the same time (maybe that's because I've been packing since January!!).

Stephanie Hall, who is in Ethiopia right now, called me yesterday morning. I actually hung-up on her three times because I couldn't understand the woman announcing her call (she sounded Hispanic, but she was actually Ethiopian -- duh). The Halls will possibly be delayed returning home due to the visa issue I explained above....PLEASE PRAY FOR THEM TO COME HOME SOON! I know they are having a wonderful time, but I know they need to come home. Her call was brief, but she did tell me how sweet our Micah is!!

We’ll try to update from ET by blog, facebook, twitter & email as internet is available!

Prayer Requests:
▪for God to be honored because of His loving-kindness & faithfulness
Safe travel/safe food; no missing luggage
▪that our bonding with Micah (and him with us) would be natural & immediate
▪as first-time parents: that we’ll know what to do!!!
▪USCIS/consulate paper work
▪And…what ever else the Holy Spirit brings to your mind!!!


Check back -- I'll post again before we leave!!

3.10.2009

What's it like to wait??

ALWAYS waiting and checking for that phone call or email that says...Your paper work is complete!! Book those flights!!...

Well, I guess on a positive note, they do sleep through the night...


Sorry, too weird for me to drive around for weeks on end with an empty car seat...


Amazing...I never knew packing could be a 'life-style'...





3.09.2009

Pushing forward

We received word that DHR will be forwarding our home study update to USCIS early this week --yay!!!

I also received another email response from USCIS, stating that I can send my home study addendum straight to them. ??? You better believe that's what I am going to do today...my paper work may even beat DHR's paper work to their office.

Stay tuned...

3.04.2009

Still No Firm Travel Dates

Sorry to report, we still do not have travel dates -- and, we really have no idea what to expect. We had tickets on hold to leave 3/13, but we had to let them go. We didn't feel confident that our paper work would be ready by then -- and, we didn't want to be tied to one airline carrier -- so we forfeited the purchase. Now we have tickets on hold for 3/20...

Our paper work is slowly progressing. I was able to request that our immigration file be transferred from Kansas City to the Atlanta office (the office that services AL)...one obstacle down!! And, I was able to established correspondence regarding our case with an agent in Atlanta...another plus!!

Now we continue to wait for AL-DHR to forward our home study addendum to Atlanta. We also have been in touch with an influential person here in AL who is helping us with AL-DHR. (Actually, this individual and I were seated at the same table last Saturday during a women's prayer brunch at our church -- when she introduced herself I just wept! That was no coincidence...that was God's sovereignty!!!)

I must say, this has been the most difficult part of our journey thus far (if you can believe that)! Now that Micah is legally ours, it is heart-crushing to be delayed to go get him!!

We are so thankful for God's continued faithfulness...even to the very end of this journey!!

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