Wednesday, December 2, 2009

(This is an email sent to Lisa - Melanie's mom - who is posting for Melanie!)

We finally made it and the internet finally works! While flying over Egypt, the clouds parted and we got to see the waves of sand - beautiful! We also got a glimpse of the Nile while flying over Egypt. Wow! We got stuck in line in customs for over 2 hours at the Addis Ababa airport. Elsa's brothers met us at the airport with flowers and treated us to drinks before we started our journey to Ritmo guest house. Wow. It's all so surreal. I can't believe I'm in Africa! It's like another world over here. The roads are all torn up with piles of rocks and bumps and ditches everywhere. The Chinese built a really nice overpass-bridge. (the only nice road!) All of the shoping is in kiosks (aka-courrogated tin shacks) lining the roads. People sleep in tarps on the road and beg for money. We have to walk through the slaughtering district to get to messaret's apartment - wow. (bog of eternal stentch?) It is so peaceful here and BEAUTIFUL! When we arrived at the guest house, there is a sign above the toilets stating that toilet paper goes in the garbage, not the toilet. The pipes can't handle it because they just empty into the nearest body of water. While walking for miles yesterday, we passed a beautiful (from a distance) river surrounded by flowering trees. I went to enjoy it, and found that it looked and smelled like sewer with garbage everywhere - yuck! Everywhere we go, you can always get a whiff of raw sewage. Infact, we are constantly walking in it on the sidewalks and road. Nasty. Messaret's wife cooked injera for us and dorawat. Heaven! The best injera I have ever had. We also were obligated to eat raw salad - still waiting for the bugs to take effect. So far no sign of bad luck (= He then took us shoping and to AHOPE to pick up Rahel. We met Rahel first thing in the morning on Monday. What a doll! She ran over to me saying Mommy, Babbi! She gave me hugs and kisses. She was very ready to go with us, saying ciao to everybody! She loves her Babbi (= I think she's a good mommy's girl though - nice since Faith is such a daddy's girl. Unfortunately, they shaved her head right before we got here )= She's still a doll though! Your pink swizzle turned out to be a heavensend not for diaper cream, but for an antifungal for her scalp. She has fungal issues with her scalp which is why they shaved her. She's the little mother figure at the nursery in AHOPE. She is always giving the baby's their bottles and making faces to cheer up the other kids when they're sad. She puts the clothes away and picks up after everybody. What a cutie! She cleaned our room when we brought her home to Ritmo (= She is very attatched to us, but is weary of her new surroundings. New families came last night and will be bringing 2 of Rahel's buddies home today (they're adopting). This is a huge adoption week for AHOPE! All the local kids think we're pretty cool because we're foreigners (= they always wave and say hello in english. They also follow us around. So cute! Sorry, no pics. dialup is too slow. Love you love you love you! Call Melannie Haskell for info on our calling card so you can call us for free. Ciao!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We're on our way!

One last post before we take off! Happy Thanksgiving everybody (= We certainly have a lot to be thankful for!

Sweet Rahel,
Sleep sweet tonight. In a few days you will be safe in our arms. Father sent you straight to us. We've been praying and waiting for you to join our little family. You have a big sister who can't wait to show you everything she knows! She prays for you every day and loves you very much. Your mommy and daddy can't wait to bring you home. We love you!

We will be leaving Friday night and flying out Saturday morning. Hunker on down for a 30 hour flight - oiy!
We'll keep you posted along the way. I hope the computer at the guest house will let me upload pictures to my blog. Thank you all so much for your support financially, mentally, physically etc... We are so glad that we are finally at this point in our journey!

Monday, November 16, 2009

We haven't died....yet!

Wow! What a week! The last couple actually! Here's the rundown.
  • Our computer died...which is why we haven't blogged for such a long time (=
  • I have become the official shuttle for a bunch of Ethiopian friends and I'm not sure I or my car can handle much more (= A friend is having marriage troubles and now has nothing. I packed her up with a bunch of dishes, tooth brush, shampoo table, couch, TV, bed etc... so she has something to function with. All the while planning a huge Ethiopian dinner for family and friends before we leave to get Rahel.
  • The dinner was WONDERFUL! My friend is on an Ethiopian dance team and they came to perform for us as well as put on a traditional dress fashion show! Wednesday was highly emotional and very late with shopping for the dinner. Thursday was spent cooking, chopping, peeling etc. until about 1 a.m. and my friend got up at 4 a.m. to start the injera! She spent all day cooking kutfo (sp?) and injera while I spent all day throwing up and having tummy issues - yay! No sleep and stress tend to do this to me. After shuttling the dancers and friends, I made it to my own dinner about 20 minutes late (= We got several comments on the injera that it was the best they've had in the U.S.! Great job friend! We had an awesome turn out of about 110 people. Thanks to everybody who came to support us! We really had a great time!
  • My friend spent the night at my house Friday and Saturday so we could cook and clean without too many trips to town! Upon waking up and getting all of the kids ready, Thomas brought me a tray with cinnamon rolls, eggs, chocolates, a goblet of orange juice and some flowers! What a great surprise! When I asked what this was for, Thomas replied Happy Anniversary! What?! I totally forgot my anniversary! 6 years! What a sweetheart (= He took me out to dinner, ran me a wonderful hot bath and pampered me with chocolates. How romantic!
  • Also, the best news ever! We were recently informed that we have a new embassy date of December 2! We now can get Rahel home before Christmas! We were so worried about applying for her visa over the holidays and the delays that might come with that. Also, our finances will work out perfectly this year because we get her home before the end of the year! The Lord is looking out for us after testing us so much! Thank you Father.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Embassy date

We have an embassy date! We're scheduled to meet at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa on December 16. We are hoping we will be able to get home before the end of the year, but it's not looking like we will. Anyway, still good news (= We're looking forward to holding our daughter soon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Houston, we have a baby!!!!!
















We have officially passed court and Rahel is now a Lemon! We are beside ourselves with happiness and gratitude this morning! Faith was jumping for joy when she heard the news (o: She finally has a sister! She said a special prayer this morning for Rahel to thank Heavenly Father that she is now her sister! How sweet. We're also grateful for all of your friendships and your support through this process. It has helped so much knowing that we're not alone in this. Thanks for sharing our sorrows and now our joys!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm voting for round 5

We're out of quarantine! Hooray! Faith and Melanie took a round with H1N1 this weekend. Our fevers have broken and we're on the mend.

About court. After sending out 3 emails to try and find out any news of our hearing, I called the information number at our agency. - I was desperate okay? Anyway, I was able to talk to one of the directors (I think) and she informed me that our case was in fact heard in court and viewed favorably BUT our MOWA letter was not attached properly so court was forced to not pass our case. Now that our MOWA letter is attached "properly" - whatever that means- we only need to wait "a few" days -whatever that means- for court to pass our case. At least we don't have to wait for another court date (o: We've decided to give them until Thursday until we pester them about a result. They are working hard to get Rahel home to us. It was MOWA's fault this time and I've been told that they usually mess things up for court hearings, so our case is not special in that way. I'm just glad that the waiting is almost at an end.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Court mishaps AGAIN

Maybe the 4th time around will be our magic one. Again, we were told the wrong date for court. Our new court date is on Monday. One day we won't even remember the pain of waiting and delays, all we will know is Rahel home and sharing life with us. I'm just trying to keep my mind off of it and not give into the corner that's calling my name - I really need a good cry!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Request for your prayers and faith

Tomorrow is our day! Please pray for our case tonight. I will post as soon as I know if we passed or when we passed I should say - faith is a good thing. We appreciate all of your support and love through this process. It's nice to have family and friends to share our experience with. Thank you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn party

Saturday we had our friends over for some fall fun :o) We carved pumpkins, enjoyed caramel apples, rode a pony and ate lots of chili and corn bread! Fun for all! The kids especially enjoyed jumping on the trampoline - a very new experience for some them! How nice to enjoy the fall and not have to work on the house!

















Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More good news!

Temesgen, our legal representative in Ethiopia just let us know that he got us a sooner date for court! It is Oct. 22 - one week from tomorrow! How exciting (:
I just received a phone call from an Ethiopian friend also letting us know that she has 3 brothers in Addis Ababa and that they would love to take us around - be our guides, translators etc. She said they would be waiting for us at the air port in Addis Ababa with pink flowers! We feel so blessed and taken care of. This definitely puts a damper on my worries - I feel so much safer now! Our Ethiopian friends are like family to us. We are together every day and it is so comfortable and warm. I know that the Lord led us to each other at this time. They came here and received their green cards within 2 weeks of their arrival - unheard of! We've been fast friends from the very start. We love each other so much! We've been supplying them with winter gear since they have none and aren't used to such cold winters and they take care of us in every other way. It will be much easier keeping Rahel's culture alive for her now!
I am so grateful that we will have a connection in Ethiopia. Thank you!

New court date!

Turns out we already have a court date! Who knew?! We're scheduled for October 26 with a possibility of Oct. 22. We'll not get our hopes up for the 22nd though (; Maybe 3rd times a charm.
Rahel - we still love you and we promise we'll get there soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Court has finally opened!

Court officially opened yesterday, October 12, 2009! Hooray! This sure has been a bumpy ride for us. October 6 was our 3rd court date that was missed. Hopefully we'll hit a winner this time. After some research online, I found out that other agencies already have issued new court dates for their families who "missed" court opening. I contacted our agency and was told that nothing was known. I'm ready to jump agencies. This is just silly. Thomas called a lady in Washington at our agency and found out that tomorrow is our agency's court date to acquire court dates for families. Come to find out, our name wasn't even on the list of families to get a court date for. We are breaking the bank and our hearts for this adoption and it seems that we are slipping through the cracks. - How gloomy. Happy thoughts are welcome ( : Prayers are also welcome.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ethiopian festival


We had such a good time at the festival in S.L.C.! We took our refugee friend and showed him the sights of Salt Lake and He taught us how to dance! We had LOTS of injera and so many delicious meats and veg. for dinner and enjoyed the dance shows. Afterward, a professional ehiopian singer entertained while we danced for the rest of the night.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More bad news

Ethiopian court didn't open quite on time this year, omiting our court date. Thank you to all who joined us in fasting and praying to bring Rahel home. We'll post when we get a new date for court.
p.s. Good luck to our friends who have their homestudy visit today! You know who you are (; We love you guys!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Ethiopian friends

Yesterday, we were introduced to the most wonderful Ethiopian family. We spent several hours together and in the evening, I learned how to make injera! Yum! We learned more vocabulary and pronunciations. One of the brothers took the time to explain the language to Thomas and gave him his very first lesson in Amharic! It's all making much more sense now. Faith made fast friends with their 2 little girls right away. The language barrier seemed to melt away into games and fun with the girls. Faith is much more motivated to learn the language now that her friends don't speak English. She is such a fast learner! Good job Faith! This family is so loving and generous! Lots of hugs and kisses and hand shaking. Most of all, there's lots of food! My hands were full of food and I was still being offered more. When I couldn't take more, it was set in front of me on the floor!
There is an Ethiopian festival in Salt Lake City on Saturday and the kids are dancing in the show! There will be food, music, dance and a fashion show! We're excited to go experience more culture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Humbled

Today, as I lie in bed pondering the direction my life has taken, the doorbell rings. It's missionaries of another denomination.
I make goals and try to keep to them but lately seem to always fail. I have made the goal to study the scriptures daily a thousand times since I've been married but never seem to keep with it. I was religious about it when I was single. Anyway, I think the Lord had something to tell me today and since I wouldn't come to Him, He came to me. These 2 women shared a scripture with me from 2 Timothy. I was struck to the core. How would they know exactly what I needed to hear? Of course! The Lord knows and He certainly works in mysterious ways. I am so grateful to the 2 women who felt strongly enough about something to bring it to me. This not only taught me the lesson the Lord wanted me to learn, it also strengthened my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so glad that I didn't turn these wonderful ladies away. I often think of our missionaries and the excuses people give them to not hear what they have sacrificed to bring them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rockbands and boyfriends

Faith was talking to herself today (not an unusual thing for Faith) and told me when I asked who she was talking to that it was her fake boyfriend. What?!? She has an imaginary boyfriend now?! Man! I thought that wasn't for a few more years!

While doing mommy chores, I heard a bunch of noise in the living room and wasn't sure what was going on. Upon investigating, I caught Faith putting on a show. Hilarious! Where does she come up with these things? We are in for big trouble with this girl!

(My hand is in front of the camera at first because I am sneaking up on Faith so she won't stop)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Court date

Our court date is October 6. We've been told that we will definitely pass this time. Yay! (I'm not sure I want to get my hopes up though). We got a new picture of Rahel in her traditional outfit - too cute! They just finished celebrating Ethiopian New Year. She is such a doll. We can't wait to meet her. We love her so much!
Faith started preschool for the year and already loves it! They are learning letters this year. Faith and I started piano lessons and she really likes it.
Thomas' grandma is in the hospital and is on her way out so we went down to say our goodbyes and decided to look at homes while we were down there. I'm not sure how I'm going to make living in the city work! A new challenge - bring it! Thomas finished the windows in our house and we now can focus on cleaning up our yard which looks more like the landfill than a yard right now (: I'll hate to leave beautiful Mendon but I know that the Lord has better plans for me. - He always does. My Mom just told me that we may not know our path, but the Lord does and He's got it covered. He won't just dump us. We'll be better off following in faith than holding onto what we love now.
p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! We love you!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Faith's talk

Faith gave a talk on Sunday in Primary on how listening to the prophets can strengthen our family. She wrote the talk all by herself!

Prophets talk to Jesus and then talk to us. Prophets write scriptures for us to read. Nephi was a prophet. He taught his brothers that they should be obedient to their father Lehi. To be obedient means to listen and do what you are told to do. Nephi wrote this in the scriptures for us to read. The scriptures also say to take care of each other in our family. We can do what the scriptures tell us. We can listen carefully (she insisted on carefully) to our mommy and daddy and take care of our family.
The prophets and scriptures teach me I can be with my family forever. When we get my new sister Rahel, we can go to the temple and be a family forever. This will make me super-duper happy. I love my family. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Faithy's eventful week


Today was Faith's primary program. She recited her line perfectly and during a quiet time, when speakers were changing, Faith stands up and shouts "Hi sister Thorne!" while waving her hands in the air. - I think she made Sister Thorne's day (: Thomas, on the other hand was pretty embarassed!


Last week in Sacrament meeting, Faith clearly stated in a loud voice "I can see that guy's butt!" referring to a small boy playing on the floor infront of us.


This week Faith decided it was time for her to perform her own haircut! I knew it was coming. Every kid does this right? Well at least most kids only cut off a chunk of their hair. Faith cut it all off.


To finish off our wonderful week of Faith's silliness, she and her friend were dancing on the car singing "Jump shake your boobies" - they got a little mixed up. I had to laugh. We set it straight and hopefully it will stick.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yet another delay

The Court would not hear Rahel's case today so we are looking at October to be heard. Hopefully all will go well and we'll actually get in on our court date and we will pass this time. Thank you all for your support. We're so glad you are a part of our journey to Rahel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Court mishaps

I guess there was some confusion with our court date and Temesgen was only going to court today to find out if we could get in before court closes for holiday on Friday. The court won't promise him anything, but he will be there bright and early and prepared on Friday just in case they will hear him. If not, we still wait until October 6 for our court hearing. Cross your fingers!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Great News!

Today we were informed that Temesgen has secured a court date for Rahel BEFORE court closes!!! He got the other child from AHOPE in also! Hooray for Temesgen - our hero! Our new court date is this Wednesday! We are beside ourselves with anticipation and excitement!
- Your prayers are appreciated (:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Small update on our crazy lives

A shout-out to Thomas who is THE most AMAZING husband a girl could ask for. If not worrying about my comfort or loving on Faith, he is working on the house 'till he can't move! My parents came up for a visit and cleaned up our yard (formerly known as the lemon landfill) and house. I have such wonderful parents. My mom made sure that at least a part of my house was functioning so I can handle what's going on around me. Now I'm not wading through debris while trying to cook and keep us on a somewhat organized routine. I am now in St. George trying to regroup so I can really be there when I'm home. I sort of wasn't able to handle living in limbo and cracked. I am getting good sleep and I am eating - I feel SO much better! Go figure. Faith is having a blast playing with her cousins all day. I miss her cute little quarks and the little things she does to let you know she loves you. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful family. We can't wait to bring Rahel home to enjoy our family with us. What a sweet little girl. Everyone who has been in contact with her while picking up their kids, or working with her as a caretaker has only good things to say about her. They all say she is ALWAYS happy and cute as can be. We feel so blessed.

p.s. good reading. If you're bored or just want a spiritual pick-me-up, check out my friend's blog: kidjunkies.blogspot.com They're in China right now picking up their newest little family member (: Luv you Christi

Friday, July 31, 2009

A bump in our road

We did not pass court today. Apparently there was a document missing in our file and time wasn't calculated correctly to have the work in. The Orphanage got the missing paperwork in on the right day, but not in time for the hearing. The court rescheduled us for October 6 :( AAI is trying to push for Rahel and another child to get through court sooner.

We need your faith and prayers.

Little Rahel, my arms ache to hold you. I am writing this with a lump in my throat but hope isn't gone. My patience is something I get to work on even harder now. It's also a time to grow closer to my Savior. Working on our house is no excuse for my negligence. More time to prepare for travel is also a good thing. I'm a little freaked out right now about staying in Ethiopia even though it's been a life dream to go, so more preparation is good.
Hopefully some better news next time.
Melanie

What a mess!

No news yet from Addis Ababa on our court case. Hopefully we find out soon! We are currently putting our house back together after successfully tearing apart every room in it (except one). We now have flooring in all rooms but one, and we're ready for paint - that's my job. I hate feeling so useless during all of this. Finally something I can do.
We've been staying at Thomas' parents home while our house is torn apart and Faith asked one night if we were going to stay at Grandma's house forever. Upon being told that it was temporary and we'd sleep in our house soon, she responded "But Mom! Our house is Scusting!"
Thomas has done a beautiful job of flooring, framing, sheet rocking etc. everything in our house. He's amazing! I'll post pictures when it's all finished (:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Court Date!!!

After 4 long weeks of waiting, we have recieved our court date! Our group (group N) is assigned to court on July 31. - We'll be needing your prayers that we pass court on our first try. This is so exciting! Hopefully we have some good news for you all in a week.



Sending hugs and kisses to Rahel. We'll be there before you know it. We can't wait to hold you and give you lots of hugs & kisses.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Awesome News!

We recently learned that court will NOT be closing this year for Holiday! This is great news for us. Things just keep falling into place. This means that there will be no chance of having to wait for court until October! We will more than likely get through court in August and pick her up in September! - which is when her TB test finishes culturing. Prime! We are so very grateful to our Father for guiding us through this adoption and leading us to Rahel. We can't wait to welcome her into our family.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Short update on Rahel

Great news! Rahel is currently doing her TB test and will be finished tomorrow. That means the soonest we will be able to pick her up is September 4. Time can't go by quickly enough!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Answer to our prayers

The U.S. Embassy has finally decided to allow HIV+ children to begin their TB sputum tests before they get their birth certificates and passports. This means we travel 8-9 weeks earlier!!! We've been praying for this. Rahel will be in the first group of children to do this. AHOPE will be getting theirs done on the 26th. We will travel at the same time the "healthy" children's families travel. The only problem is that the electricity problem is getting worse and is slowing down the adoption timeline for everybody. We are praying that our case makes it through court at least before mid-august.
It has finally hit me that we will have a kid in 2 months!!! When I was pregnant with Faith, it didn't hit me until 1 or 2 months before delivery that I wasn't just pregnant. There would be a baby in the house which triggered frantic nesting and preparations. This seems exactly the same. We're trying to get the house ready to function for a bigger family, looking for a bed etc... This is really happening! Finally! Hooray!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good news, Bad news

Poor neglected blog...I've been on vacation.
Good news - we have been placed in our court group!!! Group N. Group M's court date is on June 30, so ours should be mid-July. Our group's travel date should be the first of August, but since Rahel is HIV positive, we have to wait an additional 2 months for her TB test. Still good news!!! We're nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally!
Bad news - Ethiopia is having severe drought issues which effect everything. They depend on water for their electricity and have done without electricity about once a week in the recent past. As for now, they only get electricity a number of hours every day. Businesses are shutting down due to this, and food isn't able to be refrigerated. Gas pumps are powered by electricity.....
http://en.afrik.com/article15813.html
Here is an article on the situation in Ethiopia right now. They are in Hungry season and aide isn't as available as it should be. The UN is having to cut back rations even more now than ever. We're praying for rain for Ethiopia. Lets hope that those starving now won't suffer long. Harvest isn't for 3 more months. - sure puts things in perspective for us. We feel so picked on with the economy dive etc., but at least we have food to eat even if we don't have a job. We're not starving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Care package for Rahel

Faith drew a picture of Rahel to put in the care package.

Pictures to let Rahel know who her new family is. A fun tradition at Rahel's orphanage allows the family to send a new shirt. When Rahel wears her new shirt, her friends will know that she has found a family!



Unfortunately, we were only allowed 2 toys and no candy. (we sort of cheated - how can you pick only 2 things to send?) This all fit into the required Ziploc bag. We are allowed to send a disposable camera with our names and addy on it so Rahel's care takers can take pictures of her opening her care package and send it back to us for developing. How fun! We can't wait!!!








Daddy Day Spa


Thomas worked so hard this week getting the cellar cleaned up and finished, Faithy and I decided that he needed a spa day. We had fun pampering him (what a trooper!) and helping him relax. - If a mud mask and pedicure are relaxing to a guy. Faith had fun anyway!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ear infection

The past few weeks I have felt an urgency to bring Rahel home. I don't know the reason for these feelings. This morning I woke up with even more anxiety over Rahel. The impression of urgency is stronger than ever. I hate not being with her to know how she is and what's going on. All I can do is pray and guess and pray about my guesses. The spirit is still telling me that something is up and I'm still guessing. I talked to Thomas and found that he has felt the same urgency for the last day or two. Now we're both trying to figure this out.
After much prayer, I decided to check my e-mail even though it is Saturday, and to my grief, we received an updated medical report for Rahel. It looks like she had pneumonia again and now suffers chronic otitis media as a result. It's hard to know if the infection is bacterial or viral when it is at this stage and without medication and a simple surgery (that would be nothing here in the states), she is in danger of a lot of problems. Her hearing is already failing and we're worried that it may spread and cause damage/paralysis etc. if not treated. We need to get her home.
We ask for your prayers for Rahel and that our adoption will be expedited. The Lord will answer our prayers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Foot mustaches

Faith was complaining that her feet hurt and asked Daddy for a "mustache". After massaging one foot, she kicked up her other foot and said that this one needs a mustache too! Too cute.

Back yard camping

For those of you who are wondering, the bottles are water.

Faith learned about camping in school this week and insisted that we go camping. We had a ton of yard work to get done and decided that we would camp in the back yard so we could do both! Faith had lots of fun roasting "shmushmellos" and singing by the fire, but nothing held a candle to reading stories in the tent! Boy was she excited to go camping in a tent and use a flashlight in the dark! We had lots of fun and were glad that we were able to make it work out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ethiopian connections

The funniest thing happened this week. After celebrating my birthday in town, we met with the girl we met from Ethiopia a couple of weeks ago. She translated a letter we wrote to Rahel and put some notes on our pictures in Amharic to introduce our family to Rahel.
We met her at a home in Smithfield which ended up being the home of adoptive parents who happen to have adopted several kids from Ethiopia! This is random because the girl gave us this address as her home address. After a lot of confusion when the owners of the home arrived, we learned that this girl was in fact not adopted by these people, but that she lived on the other end of town with her biological family who were sponsored to come overseas. She was actually friends with the homeowners' kids but considers herself family.
Once we were all straightened out, we had a long and informative conversation on adoption and Ethiopia. Through this visit, we learned that all the "group" things that happen for Ethiopians are here in Cache Valley! I guess people travel from Salt Lake to come here to get together and celebrate Ethiopian holidays. What a small world!
We feel so blessed to have met our new friend while shopping one day. The adoptive parents we met were very kind and extremely helpful as well as informative. We have names and numbers for many of the people who live here in the valley that have either adopted from Ethiopia or who have been sponsored after winning the lottery to come here. Our new friends supplied us with numbers for friends and family that can be trusted who live in Et that can help us find our way around when we get there.
We also learned that the court system in Ethiopia shuts down mid August through September. I'm glad someone let us know that small bit of info - we didn't quite time things correctly considering this. We're praying that things will work out for an earlier pick-up date. Our dossier went to Ethiopia yesterday and is waiting for translation. Things are still running smoothly (which is a testament of the Lord's hand in this adoption) and on schedule. Thank you for your prayers and support. They are needed and very much appreciated (:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just Journaling

3 good things: Melissa, my sister-in-law posts "3 good things" on her blog. I've decided that this is the perfect thing for me to steal! Sorry Melissa. You've been robbed. The Tao teaches putting a positive spin on everything in life. Even the things you hate. My mom is the perfect example of this. She can find something she loves in EVERYTHING and makes it sound WONDERFUL! I think this 3 good things will help me on my way to growing into the things I love about my mom.
3 good things:
  • Naps. Faith and I took a nap together....naps are beautiful. (:
  • Movie nights.
  • Amazing husbands. My husband mopped the floor today...after making dinner. Need I say more?

Just Journaling

I find myself logging on to Christi Anne's blog every day to see if I'm lucky enough to get a small glimpse into her life and draw inspiration and spiritual edification. Today, as I was following routine, I realized that I was waiting for inspiration to come to me, rather than create it myself. It's time I started living my own inspirational life, enriching Faith's, and making family life more meaningful. There was a time when my life was an inspiring one and it has become forgotten. I think my wake up call was sufficient. I am determined to get with the game. I have found that through writing, I teach myself and find better success in progression.
I will title these posts as "Just Journaling" so you know that it's just me rambling and you can pass right over it. Nothing is more irritating than a blog that rambles. Who has time for that? Anyway, I need to journal, and this is the only place I have actually kept going with. To quote a favorite aunt, "This is a rambling blast of gak...forgive me in advance." (:
I love you Andee! -Melanie

Ethiopia in the Valley

Thomas and I were shopping for a music box at D.I. (I've been taking them apart and making cute boxes for them), and our checker just happened to be from ET! How crazy is that? We got her name and number, and we're going to get together soon. She was most excited to meet us and be involved in ANY way! She is so homesick for Ethiopia. We are going to see if we can hire her to give us lessons in Amharic and how to cook Ethiopian. She is such a sweet girl. She was excited to learn that our daughter's name is Rahel - she has a cousin named Rahel. We're so grateful for the chance to have met someone who lives here in Cache Valley that will be a wonderful friend - this will be so good for Rahel (: I guess there are a number of people and families from Ethiopia here in the valley. - Small world

More music

The Christmas CD is finally moving forward again. I think this last stint of writers block has finally passed! Scooby snacks for me (: I finished an arrangement yesterday, and am very close to finishing two more - hopefully by next week. I can't wait for you all to hear them and give me input. I can't seem to figure out how to get my files to work on blogger so I'll have to give an informal concert to let you all come and give your ideas. I have arranged a lullaby for Faith and Rahel and decided it would work perfect for the CD! How many tracks does a CD usually have? Is 9 too many? Some are short though - is 9 enough?

RECORDING:
  • Cammie - I need your voice (:
  • Michael - I need your voice too (:
  • Jen - Would you accompany a flute piece for me?
  • Cierra - What do you think about helping plan the concert?
  • Krecia - I need your ooher and aahhher (:
  • Ryan - Percussion....again? (:
  • Melissa - What do you think about giving a short story or a clip from our Christmas musical on the CD?
  • Shalon - Voice........please?
  • Dad - Guitar. Twice.
  • Keston - Guitar?
  • Lori, Jo, Shanon - you guessed it! - dance of the reed pipes?
  • Sheila - Your voice rocks! Would you record?
  • Does anyone play the tin whistle well?

Thanks for all of your help this far. This should be fun - we'll see! Leave your answers in a comment or give me a call. Thanks! - Melanie

Thursday, April 30, 2009

HIV misconceptions

Answers to misconceptions regarding HIV.

  • HIV is not a death sentence.
  • HIV does not always turn into AIDS.
  • You can't get HIV from kissing or household contact.
  • Once on the medications and responding well, chances are extremely slim of contracting HIV through sex or blood to blood contact (1 in 300) - though precautions should be taken.
  • HIV is a fragile disease. You have to try to "catch" it. Once outside the body, it dies very quickly unlike the flu virus.
  • HIV is extremely manageable. It is said to be preferred to diabetes regarding manageability.
  • One with HIV can live a long and healthy life.

HIV

Thomas and I first chose to adopt a "healthy" child, but after much prayer and research, decided to adopt a child who tests HIV+. Soon after, we received information on a beautiful little girl named Rahel Enawgaw. Her Mother suffered for a very long time in a hospital with AIDS before she died. Rahel's older sister's blood tests negative for HIV, and Rahel's tests positive. The father of Rahel's sister took her in, and felt that Rahel would get the care and medication she needed if she were adopted by an American family. This must have been heart wrenching to split the sisters, but in order for Rahel to survive and live a long and happy life, she needs the medications that we have the ability to provide for her. We hope to bring Rahel back to ET to visit her sister as often as money allows. It was a brave and selfless step for them to take, I'm not sure I would have had the strength to sacrafice like they have. We are eternally greatful that they did and now we get to share in Rahel's life story.

Below is a link to a video that you all should watch. It answers many questions and explains our reasons for adopting a child who tests positive for HIV. I haven't timed it, but I think the video is about 20 minutes long. Set aside some time and watch it - it's very informative.

http://www.facinglife.tv/episode/season_3/episode_7/episode_307_video_full.htm

HIV

We have finally made our decision regarding education on Rahel's health. Rahel's blood tests positive for HIV. We have decided to make this public knowledge for a number of reasons that we won't list here. This may be a shock to some of you, but I hope you read on before getting scared into keeping away.

Most of us were educated about HIV in the 1980's, when HIV was running wild. Our education on the virus was to scare us into stopping the disease in its tracks, which worked! Now, however, things are much different for those carrying HIV. Medicine has made many breakthroughs regarding HIV and AIDS.

This is the first of a few educational posts we will be posting regarding HIV and Rahel's condition. PLEASE read ALL of our posts on HIV education. This will help put any questions and worries at ease. Also, please feel free to post your questions in our comment sections.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Referral

We got our referral today for Rahel!!! She's ours to pursue:) Every step has fallen into place for us. We know that Rahel belongs in our family and that the Lord is part of this decision and process. He knows what's best for us and for Rahel and has led us to her. We are forever grateful. YAY!!!!!!!!!

If you're dying for a picture, we can email one to you. Ethiopian government is very strict about not allowing pictures of their orphans on the web though so you would need to make sure not to ever post her pictures online even on a blog until the adoption is final. They allow emails to close family and friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mouse bites, 2 Skunks and a Name

Saturday proved to be quite the day for us. We actually got a lot accomplished, but not quite what we were planning!

Faith came crying to me with an owie on her hand. She was bleeding and it seemed to her the end of the world (doesn't blood always mean the end of the world?). She told Thomas that a mouse bit her. Thomas found the cats and sure enough, they were playing with a dead mouse. Honestly! I guess Asia caught a mouse and Faith picked it up before it was dead. Well, Mooshu finished the mouse off and we took Faith, mouse and all to the instacare clinic to wait for 2 hours. Anyway, all is well and Faith is okay.




(Asia after her Tomato bath)
So, Asia got skunked for the 2nd time in two weeks. Aarrrrggggghhhhhh! Tomato sauce only goes so far in taking out the HORRIBLE smell. When it's so strong, it smells like burning rubber and onions. The kittens smell like skunk from their mama, therefore Faith and her friends who find it impossible not to drag the poor kittens around all day smell like skunk. I'm constantly changing Faith's clothes and washing her to get the skunk off of her. Anybody want a cat? How about a cat and 3 kittens? Wait... How about 2 cats and 3 kittens!



We got some more info on Rahel and another picture! She is adorable! Her last name is Enawgaw. Things are working out for us unusually well. We are truly grateful to the Lord for walking us through this adoption and leading us to our Rahel:)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rahel's story

Rahel has been approved for adoption as a single child! Our Dossier is done and we're just waiting on our I600A to be processed and given a time for fingerprinting. As soon as Rahel's medical report is finished, we will receive a referral and she is ours to pursue!

I don't think I've told everyone Rahel's story, so here it is.

Rahel arrived at the orphanage shortly before we learned of her. Her Mother recently died and her older sister comes from a different father. Rahel's sister's Father decided to take the sister in, but could not take Rahel. Ethiopia rarely allows splitting a sibling pair, but since they were to be separated anyway, by choice of the sister's Father, the government allowed Rahel to be adopted as a single child. We would gladly take her sister, but since her Father wants her, we are very happy that she can be with Family.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A clip from the blog of a friend

Since it was already written so beautifully, I decided to totally steal my friends blog post to explain my sprained ankle and pulled muscle in my arm.

"It's kind of funny to have a less-than-functional left foot and right arm. Those are the same appendages that my friend Intrepid was unable to use after she fell out of her car with her arm around her daughter and her foot caught in a seat belt. Both she and I couldn't drive after our injuries because we both have manual cars." - (by the way, I'm Intrepid in case you were wondering.)

-Thanks friend

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Opposition

Nothing lets you know you're on the right track like Satan throwing fiery darts at you from every direction. Our faith has been tried and we're certainly being forced to rely on the spirit to get us through this adoption. The Lord has guided our every footstep along the way and now to reiterate the fact that this is what's right for our family, Satan is throwing a tantrum and has found yet another one of my weaknesses. This is usually how it happens for me. I guess I'm special that way. yay! When something is very important and very right and has the possibility of being very wonderful and very influential for good, Satan runs rampant trying every option available to him to stop what's good. In doing so, he has given away the secret - this must be REALLY important for us to go through with!

The Lord is very present in our life right now. The more we turn to him, the more He turns to us. I am thankful for his never ending patience, forgiveness and love. He has not left us alone to be taken down. The only power Satan has over us is what we have given him and the minute we decided to take that power away, the spirit of the Lord swims through our home, our heads and our hearts. Our family is a very special unit that must threaten the adversary heavily. Rahel is most definitely meant to be a part of our family and we welcome her with open arms!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Rahel's Mother of the womb

To Rahel's Mother of the womb:
I pause and think of you every single day
Of your love and sacrifice before you went away
I thank you for the gift of your sweet Rahel
I will teach her of your love, that In the arms of Jesus you now dwell
I make to you this promise today
That I will raise her up with love, and bring her back to you someday.
In my home, she will feel safe and you can know
We will expand her mind and let her spirit grow.
Our Savior has made the way, suffered what was required
That we can all be united in His house, whole, a family reunited.
Rahel will know us both, I will do my part
You Her Mother of the womb,
And Me Her Mother of the heart
-I love you
Melanie

Rahel

We've found our sweet little girl! I can't believe this is actually happening! In a few months we'll be holding our Rahel in our arms. Things are running quite smoothly. Our dossier will be complete by tomorrow and we'll be one step closer to our sweet Rahel!


Dear Sweet Daughter,
As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday.
My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
She does and now my dreams transform.
New visions fill my mind.
The new curls that I long to stroke are raven black I find.
And in my dreams those eyes are not so blue I've found.
Now in my dreams they shine bright and cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.
They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.
As you grew in your mother's womb, carefully knit together,
you also grew in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your mother said good-bye,
I'd be right there to comfort you to hold you as you cried.
Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be.
But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands,
and though we're half a world apart in very different lands.
I'll be right there to hold you just as soon as I’m allowed.
But til the time is right I give to you this vow.
I'll pray for your protection every night on bended knee.
For our Father will hold you in His arms,
until you're here with me.

-Gayle Leubecker (With some changes from Mommy)
Christy – thank you for this beautiful idea

Friday, April 3, 2009

Krecia's lesson in Amharic

Faith and I took Krecia and Cierra out to the Indian Oven for dinner the other night. While we were there, Faith and I were showing the girls how to speak Amharic. I told Faith to say several words including "I love you" and "All gone", all in Amharic. I then told Faith to teach Krecia how to say Hello. She turned and looked very seriously at Krecia and in a clear, strong voice, she said 'He-llooooo'. -Classic! I love my Faithy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Lord will provide a way

Well, our adoption finance options fell through and on top of that, with the economy dive, Thomas' raises in the future won't quite be what we planned on. We know that this is the right thing for our family and that the Lord will provide a way. He doesn't ask of us anything He doesn't plan on seeing through. I've decided to offer group guitar classes so I can handle more students. 2 hours a week with 10 students certainly sound better than 10 hours a week with individual students. Faith sorta makes that one impossible! We also plan to throw benefit dinners in the near future. Our dossier packet has arrived and we are now working on that. So close yet so far! Things are definitely looking up though. Thank you all for your prayers and your support. Before we know it, our girls will be home and our family will be richer for it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

" 'all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children' " (3 Nephi 22:13)

I've been doing a little research on how to make conference a meaningful thing for Faith. I couldn't come up with a single thing on my own, so here's what I have gathered. I hope it can help someone else.

The Church always comes out with a general conference packet for the current conference. This is most helpful, but when it comes to the little kids, I find it a bit more challenging to make conference a meaningful experience for Faith and for us (chasing a 3 year old and making her be quiet makes for a not so meaningful conference for mom and dad).

The Ensign gave some great ideas for the small kids. Here are the ones I liked:

* "Complete chores, homework, grocery shopping, and other standard weekend activities by Friday night."

* "Turning a favorite food the family enjoys into a special treat served at conference time, or participating between sessions in a family activity, such as playing games, watching old family videos, taking a walk, or talking about the session that just ended."

* "We pray individually and with our children that our hearts will be prepared for the messages of conference."

* "They remove the center spread with photos of General Authorities from the most
recent conference edition of the Ensign and hang it near the television. Each time a new speaker appears on the screen, the children study the poster and try to find the speaker's picture. They are rewarded with a sticker to place on the poster or in a notebook of their own. "They quickly learn to identify the First Presidency and others by name."

* "Set out a bowl of small treats for each session. Next to the bowl, they place objects that represent key words for that session. Each time the children hear one of those words spoken from the pulpit, they can help themselves to one treat. Sister Sorensen notes: "It's surprising to see how much young children can and do listen. Their enthusiasm is priceless as you hear them say, 'Mommy, he said temples!'"

* " 'all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children' " (3 Nephi 22:13).

* "To set general conference apart as a special event, Brother and Sister Beverley designated the family home evening following conference as "Quiz Night," when each member of the family would ask three questions about the talks, the reports, or things they observed. It quickly became tradition." "When our children were young, we wondered whether questions like 'What color was the prophet's tie?' would really make a difference in their lives, however, Quiz Night established a pattern that has matured with the children."

* One couple used the most recent issue of the Conference Ensign as their Family Home Evening manual, giving each family member a copy of their own. They were given highlighters to highlight the important things to them, and the kids could color what they wanted. They tried to use the pictures to teach the little kids about the talk.

Homestudy Approval

Our homestudy was approved and accepted yesterday! We are on our way! Our dossier is next. Wish us luck! We have received waiting children lists and are excited to find our newest family members!
An appology...We haven't exactly been faithful in keeping up our blog lately. We had to do some serious changing in the way our house functions. We are finished now and it is wonderful! We now have a family/toy room upstairs where the kids can play and make their messes (out of sight). Our bedroom is now downstairs in the office. It all works so much better. That stress has been put at ease. Now on to more paperwork....

Monday, March 16, 2009

While browsing the web for a settee that I would love for my living room, I came across this little beauty! Look at this guy! I love it! Problem is, I don't love the price tag. I found this at HORCHOW for $3,199.00 - OUCH! The bug bit! You know me, I can't pass up a good challenge. Luck would have it, KSL had the PERFECT solution! How do I get so lucky?



This Antique frame rang in at a whopping $50.00! It's perfect! I plan on cutting out the middle and attaching the sides together to make an almost exact replica of the picture above! Amazing! I have some beautiful upholstery fabric and some memory foam lying around that will work perfectly with this piece. Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted ;)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here is Faith's tribute to "Great-Gran" and her new book!

Salt Lake Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribune put in an article on "Sacred Hymns of the Book of Mormon." Grandma and Marilyn were interviewed and Mom let me know the article was published. The link to the actual article and pictures is here: http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_11782800 (Grandma, Maurine Ozment, is the one with white hair)


St. George women partner to write hymnal
The Associated Press
Posted: 02/27/2009 06:00:00 PM MST

St. George » A trio of St. George women have paired their creative talents with their love of the LDS Church to write a book of hymns.
Writer Marilyn Arnold, musician Maurine Ozment and Lisa Farr teamed up to write 32 hymns based on stories from the Book of Mormon, the central text used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We hope it will get people into the Book of Mormon in a new way," Arnold said, adding that the idea for the project came to her "out of the clear blue."
Writing the words and music for Sacred Hymns of the Book of Mormon took nearly a year and half. Arnold wrote the lyrics, Ozment composed the music and Farr compiled Ozment's handwritten notes into a computer program in preparation for publishing.
Arnold and Ozment are no strangers to creative work. Arnold is a retired English professor who has written novels and other books, some with Mormon religious themes. A professional musician, Ozment has written numerous songs, including some found in the church's Children's Song Book .
The women say the project was an inspirational and introspective experience.
"I felt very close to those people [in the Book of Mormon] as I was writing, especially Nephi," Ozment said. "It was a wonderful journey."
The book was not endorsed or published by the LDS Church, but the women said they've given copies to church leaders and to Mack Wilberg, director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They say they hope to someday hear their hymns sung during church services, but don't care if they make any money from the endeavor. The songbook can be purchased in most Latter-day Saint bookstores.
"We just want people to love the music," Arnold said.

Homestudy and Doctor visits

Today was our home study home visit. It went very well as did our doctor appointments yesterday. We both passed with flying colors! Our doctors are very supportive and excited for us. Now we just wait... Next week we will have a picture and a name for all of you! We can't wait! We're so greatful for this chance to find out who our new daughter will be and do what it takes to bring her home to us.

Sam and Esther

This video will change your life. It changed ours. Don't watch unless you're ready for a good cry! I hope it will touch you like it touched us.

You may have to turn off the playlist music to hear this video.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Melanie and Faith went to St. George for a couple of weeks to visit Grammie and Great-Gran. We had so much fun! Grammie and Melanie went repelling at Red Cliffs and Faith definitely enjoyed the swimming! Grandpa is almost finished with Melanie's guitar and Melanie even tried her hand at luthiering (is that a word?). She is making a Mongolian Horse Head fiddle - Igil. It looks horrible! Grandpa is MUCH better. We also picked up 3 little finches while there. They are so cute! We love their singing.
Our application was accepted and we are on to the next step on our adoption journey! Thank you to everyone who supplied us with good resources and references. It has been VERY helpful! Don't forget to learn this week's phrase in Amharic!
Princess

Wednesday, January 28, 2009




Grandma’s Hymnbook came out this January so be looking for it! It’s called “Sacred Hymns of the Book of Mormon” by Maurine Ozment and Marilyn Arnold. I think it’s only $11.00 at the store. Here’s a picture of the cover -


We are all so proud of Her, Mom and Marilyn! Let your choir directors know about these hymns and let me know how you like them!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

P.S. We have selected an Orphanage!

I forgot to mention that we have selected an orphanage in Ethiopia. We should be picking up our little girl in the fall - cross your fingers! We are very excited - things have been falling into place so quickly and easily. We know that this is the right thing for our family. We all wake up every morning with smiles and sunshine. I can't describe the feeling in our home right now. We feel so blessed to have been chosen to bring another special little girl into our home!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

We recieved our packet from AAI (Adoption Advocates International) today and are excited to get started on it. Suzanne from "Families for Children" will be doing our home study. Wish us luck! Our house is a rock home built in the 1860's and we've done a lot of work on it. We hope it will pass inspection.

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you;seek me diligently and ye shall find me;ask,and ye shall receive;knock,and it shall be opened unto you

Doctrine and Covenants 88:63

The more we turn our hearts to the Lord, the more His hand is evident in our lives. This blog is for our family and friends who wish to share our adoption journey. The other day, Thomas and I both were struck with urgency to begin our adoption process. I didn't tell Thomas about the feelings I had until later that evening to which he responded with information he had looked up online about adoption the very same day. The Lord is speaking to us and we haven't felt so strongly about anything in a very long time. The spirit about our home is one of love, happiness and excitement for what lies ahead! Faith is especially excited for her new sister! She informs everyone she meets that her sister is coming tomorrow! She doesn't quite grasp the concept of time just yet.


Every day, Faith and I have our "karaoke time" when we plug our mikes into mommy's amp and sing primary songs. Her favorite is "I love to see the temple" and she requests that we sing it at least 5 times every day while she points out that we have a picture of the temple on our wall. She always asks when she can go to the temple and I always tell her she has to wait until she's 12. That's a LONG wait! Now that we have a new spirit joining our family, Faith gets to go to the temple and she about can't stand it she is so excited! I love having Faith in my life. She reminds me of what is important. How long has it been since I was so excited to go to the temple. I do take it for granted. The best thing about a new day is that we can start again. Thomas and I have begun a new life and are most excited to have the spirit with us always. "Tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it" (not an exact quote - sorry) - Anne of Green Gables



The Lord has been waiting for us to turn our hearts to him and give him our all. He hasn't forgotten us and I am grateful for his never ending patience and forgiveness.



I recently have come in contact with Christianne (Nelson) Green, a friend from Ferron. A friend who has been my role model since before I can remember. She is the reason I am who I am and the reason I have had the strength to make the decisions I have. Chrisi has some experience with adoption and has given me hope that this can and will really happen. She has recently adopted two beautiful girls from China and is in the process of adopting a little boy as well. I hope everythings goes well for them! Thank you Christi for always living your life so that others (I) can draw strength from your light and your testimony. You tend to always show up just when I need it the most. Thank you for listening to the spirit!

-Melanie