Tuesday, November 30, 2010

gina payne shared a clip with you on Vimeo

gina payne shared this with you:

( ***Please Mute my music at bottom right hand side of the blog- scroll down to the bottom. This way you can hear the video) :) Special Prayer for "T".*****

Hope is Fading

Hope is Fading

Please watch this. When I see this video I think of "T", who is waiting at my son's orphange. He is the last of the original bus load of children who arrived the same day my son did. He is 6/7 years old, plays well with others, is great at soccer, LOVES to have his photo taken,speaks wonderful ENGLISH and despeately wants a FOREVER family. Could it be you?

About this video:
"This was my capstone Senior project at the University of Cincinnati. The animations were for a site that doesn't really exist, but would have promoted adoption."

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MORE progress and a SPECIAL prayer request for "T"!

Well, more GREAT news this week... I love getting emails from our agency director, Sue Hedberg!!!! :)
Keep them coming Sue!!! :) We just need a few more! :)

This week we got his medical clearance, they also have his passport and it is all being submitted to the Embassy on December 2nd! ( this Thursday!) Woo HOO! So more waiting, but things are indeed moving along and we are getting closer to having him HOME with us FOREVER! :)

We are praying for an Embassy date of December 16th or December 30th! :) We prefer the earlier one, but so do a lot of other families! I keep reminding myself that God already knows when he is coming home and that his timing will be PERFECT! I am so ready for tomorrow to be December already and I just PRAY this is his HOMECOMING month! :)

In the meantime, he did get a musical card from us yesterday! You meet a lot of new friends when you wait for an adoption! Our new friend went to his orphanage this week went to bring her son HOME! What a joy! We are so happy for her family and for her new son! We were so grateful for our son to receive something as simple as a card and a few photos to hopefully ensure him we are thinking about him and coming soon for him! Our friend just said he kept staring at the pictures! :) That sounds about right! He loves his photos!!! :) Love you little guy! We miss you soo much!!

So, we are busy getting the boys rooms changed around ( Robby is going to the extra bedroom). We have been busy cleaning closets ( donating more stuff to another Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale that is THIS weekend), having the carpets cleaned ( Thanks Luke @ Mr B's Chem Dry!), and pulling stuff off the walls! Next job is a nice coat of paint! All that is left in Robby's room is his bed ( Now Mamo's) and a real cool Train table ( Thanks Kurtis and Alicia!) :)

We are also trying to get the rest of our ADOPTION T-SHIRTS sold!

So funny, but that is one of the TOP posts that people go to on our site! I know they are getting ideas for their fundraising and for their family T-Shirts-- we remember doing the same thing!

We have a FEW left---so get yours if you want them! They would be GREAT to wear to the airport when we have our welcome home party!!! I can't wait to be able to tell y'all when we are coming home!! Yay!!!

T-shirt sizes: (this is what we have left)

2 ladies Mediums

2 mens Mediums

1 mens XL

Who wants them? Ladies are $28 and Mens are $25!
5$ shipping and pick ups are FREE! You can pay through paypal, cash or check! :)

We also have a FEW Uganda beads left!

We don't have too many so if you want one or two as Christmas presents PLEASE let me know ASAP! I think we have like 14 left and then we are done!!!! They are $25 each!!!!

Thanks to all of our family and our friends (old and new) for your support of our family on this adoption journey! We have been so blessed by your support, generosity and your love!~ I can't wait until Daniel Mamo gets the chance to meet the people that loved him, believed in him and who are giving him the chance at life, as part of our family, long before they knew him!

I would like to request a very special prayer for a 6/7 year old boy, "T", who is still at Mamo's orphanage WAITING to be picked by his FOREVER family! He is the only one left waiting, of the original 8, that my son and I met on July 20th. Will you please PRAY that someone PICKS him soon! He is a doll, speaks wonderful English and is so loving! Robby helped teach "T" how to swing a baseball bat while we were there. Robby says he was really good at is too! We were pretty sure they had never seen a baseball bat before!!! It was a lot of fun watching them work that bat! LOL

When Philip and I stepped off the van when we arrived to see Mamo last month, "T" lit up when he saw me. He started swinging an air baseball bat-- then I knew he remembered me! (and he was looking around for Robby!) If you would like more information on this child I would love to tell you how AMAZING he is! He is school age and plays well with others! He is GREAT at soccer and is the BIG brother at the orphanage to all the little ones! My guy LOVES him! They all do!!! Ask my husband..this child is so sweet and NEEDS to be picked soon! He is a very special boy to our family and we are praying for him and are asking for your prayers too!

Someone PLEASE pick him! There are 6 kids from this orphanage coming to Middle Tennessee. I would so love if it were 7! He is watching all of us loving on our kids, watching the other kids with their mommies and daddies, he sees the other kids receiving care packages and he is just waiting!!! He just wants someone to LOVE him and call him their son FOREVER!

((I am trying to get a Video (not of him, but one that reminds me of him) on the blog. Not so great at this; IF I succeed you will need to mute our music player at the bottom right of the blog so you can hear the sound of the video). I keep trying!!! :))

Could it be you? Or someone you know?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Birth Certificate...CHECK! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!

We got news Tuesday that Daniel Mamo's birth certificate has arrived!!! and it matches what his father gave us! His birthday is April 28th, 2007! Can't wait to have this 3 1/2 year old boy home soon!!

Isn't he just a cutie??!! We are so excited to have a Spring birthday to add to our family!

Next item on the wait list is his Passport, then we are submitted to the Embassy! Ya -Hoo!!!

We are busy clearing out closets and transferring rooms now! Our carpets are getting cleaned Saturday and the "nesting" has officially started! There is a CHANCE he will be home BEFORE or right after Christmas, so we are getting ready!!! There is soo much to do!!! We have sooo much to be THANKFUL for!

We were also reminded today of another way we could help someone else today in Africa. God has spoken to us to help a friend in need and we were THANKFUL that we were able to do so. We have so many things to be THANKFUL for here in America. God continues to stir our hearts, place people in our lives that he wants us to see and help, and HE is calling us to do MORE. I LOVE that HE is STRETCHING our faith our budgets and our hearts!

Ok, hopefully we will post more updates REAL soon!

:) Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Please click HERE to read a special and beautiful Thanksgiving message from my friend Krisit Johnson. I echo her feelings today and wanted to share her blogpost with you. You can also contact Sue Hedberg at Celebrate Children (Our agency) to see WAITING kids with her agency (she will email you a password) who are WAITING for someone to say YES! I promise you it will FILL your heart to help the least of these! We have so much to give and to be THANKFUL for this holdiay. I know many of you have room in your hearts and in your homes to love ONE more! Go ahead, take a look! :)

I firmly beleive everyone has a role in the 163 million Orphan Crisis that we currently have in this world. I know not everyone had the calling to adopt- but I do beleive that EVERYONE has a calling in this CRISIS. PLEASE Support someone who is adopting by helping them financially, GO VISIT an ORPHAN, or Pray for the Orphan!

If (only) 7% of Christians would adopt ONE Orphan in this world, then there would be NONE left! Did you know...34% of Christians consider Adoption, but only 1% ACTUALLY do it! Please don't be in the 33% that does nothing if you are or have ever considered adopting! That is the ONE statistic that haunted me after I read it! We didn't want to be in that 33%! A lot of people do not adopt because of finances....Many of us can help someone say YES by helping our friends and our family financially!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!! :) We are sooooo blessed to have a strong marriage, a wonderful family, 2 smart and beautiful kids, a toddler on the way, a warm house, plenty of food on the table, and rich friendships!We are blessed to be able to WORSHIP and PRAISE God for all of our blessings!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Journey to the GORGE and back! Some of our memories from Ethiopia!

Well, the jet lag really hit me this trip.I was up again this morning at 4am. Last trip Robby and I didn't have ANY jet lag. Philip is fine too; just lucky me who can't sleep. At first I thought it was the adrenalin of everything that had just transpired, but now I am definitely blaming the jet lag and the 9 hour time difference! I will not be sleeping the first leg of the trip home next time. That is where I made the mistake! Lesson learned! :)

So, I shared our sweet son's photos and told y'all a little about his sweetness and his likes and dislikes. Now I want to show you his beautiful country.

The first full day we were there we went out into the countryside and saw the beauty of Ethiopia!
Now, when Robby and I were there in July we were there during the Rainy Season and their Winter Season. The DRY Season is a totally different Ethiopia that we were able to see this time! It was BEAUTIFUL! The temps were 75 degrees with a constant breeze and sunny skies every day (it FELT like being on vacation on an island). The weather was perfect! It felt GREAT everyday! You needed a jacket early in the morning and at night, but the daytime temperatures were superb! It was so nice to see EVERYTHING DRY as well. No mud on this trip! We were slathered in it last trip! So glad I was able to see both season's in this beautiful country! As as side note Ethiopia gets ALL of their rain from July-September. The other 9 months it DOES NOT RAIN. Crazy, huh?

Early Sunday morning, we drove 2 hours outside of the city to a Gorge (A.k.a as Ethiopia's Grand Canyon! We passed all kinds of remote villages, kids who were shepherding cattle and goats, kids playing in the fields, people walking to church, people walking to visit their friends houses!
Here you saw more of the HUT type houses and it looked like what you think Africa looks like. There is a BIG difference from city life in Ethiopia and life in the countryside. They still do all of their farming with Oxen and a wooden plow and they walk really long distances to gather water. We passed a well today and saw children using it.

It was a gorgeous drive and we went with some new friends of ours, Lisa and Mike from Buffalo New York! The scenery was breathtaking on the way there and the Gorge was spectacular!

We finally got to see monkeys (Baboons)! I didn't get a ton of pictures or many up close because they scurried as soon as they saw us! So, look REAL close in these photos!:)

There was a magnificent waterfall at the Gorge and we hiked down to it.
There was also a REALLY old bridge that was gorgeous!

We had a few "local" guides give us the "tour" and of course we bought a few handmade items from them!
The rolling green hills and the river at the base of the gorge were spectacular.It reminded Philip and I of the beauty we felt when we were in Lake Tahoe. Breathtaking beauty!

There were aloe Vera plants growing everywhere and lots of other flowers and plants. Our Christmas poinsettias grow wild here in Ethiopia too. And they grow BIG! Like Poinsettia trees! :)

It was such a beautiful morning and we were blessed to have been able to journey 2 hours outside the city to see this beautiful site! Our driver and tour guide, Alazar, taught us sooo much aboout Ethiopian culture and the differences from Ethiopian city life versus rural countryside life!
We made the 2 hour journey back and left for the orphanage where our kids were! They were all eagerly waiting for us when we pulled in!(Despite the van running over and exploding one of their soccer balls!- No worries we replaced the next day with 3 new soccer balls!)

Especially happy to see us was this sweet face! :)
We donated tons of clothes and shoes to the orphange (a lot of the good quality stuff that was left over from our MEGA yardsale). Today each of the kids were bathed and dressed in new clothes and shoes! They came out one at a time (one nanny bathed and washed all 20 kiddos, so this happend over a few hours...) We all made a big deal when each child came out so clean and with their new duds on! Their little faces just lit up! It was so sweet and it felt so good that they were getting great use of all of YOUR donations!!! It truly put a smile on all of their sweet faces, and ours too!!! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Someone shared a clip with you on Vimeo

You can watch it here:

Gina & Philip_Stewardship 2010

Gina & Philip_Stewardship 2010

(Scroll to the bottom right hand corner of the blog to mute the music player.) This is our video that talks about how we knew we were supposed to adopt and how we picked our son's birth country of Ethiopia.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy to be Home, but left part of our HEARTS in Ethiopia!

Well, we are back home! Man, that is a longer flight coming home. We clocked over 24 hours of travel time between the last 2 days! We only lost 3 bags this flight (I don't know what it is with our family and loosing luggage, but we are becoming quite the experts at this! LOL) 2 of the 3 lost bags were delivered tonight and the 3rd bag went to Texas (which has my laptop charger in it((Argh!!!)) Oh well, what do you do?

Overall the trip was FANTASTIC! You know it was a success and we have an email asking for our last payment to our Adoption Agency! Woo Hoo!So after this check is written this morning all we have left are our travel fee's for the next journey over and our Embassy fees!!!

WE PASSED COURT if you didn't already catch that in the last post! So, the way I understand it all (room for error- so there is my disclaimer), is that we NEED to get that stinking piece of paper back from Immigration with an Approval (it was entered into the system sometime last week, so we just wait that all of that gets approved.) Also, in the next few weeks our agency staff in Ethiopia will be obtaining his birth certificate, his passport, and submitting our case to the Embassy for review. After they approve everything, then we can book our travel for our return trip once a spot is available within our agency. More than likely, it looks like our travel time will be in January, IF all continues to move along smoothly.

That seems like a REALLY long time to us, that was until we talked to people that we met in Ethiopia that have been wrapped in their adoption process for years (NOT with our agency)...

Literally YEARS... I can't even imagine!

We met another couple who went to travel for their court date like we did (also NOT with our agency) and they found out when they got there that there was a problem with the paperwork; they were planning on staying in country until the adoption was complete, and are now staring at a March 2011 timeframe. And they are staying in country until then! Wow, ok, no more whining from me. BUT we desperately MISS our little guy!

We are just praying so hard that God will protect his heart. We are here with so many distractions(like getting his room ready, preparing for the holdiays, running our kids around everywhere and living life, etc)and he just WAITS in the orphange for us to come back and get him. Man, I hope he really BELIEVES we are coming! We LOVED the orphanage where he is staying (as much as you can love an orphange) and all the people and the kids there, BUT it is really so hard when he tells the orphange director that he doesn't want us to go and that he wants to go with us. And SOMEHOW you have to walk away and trust that is really WILL all happen. We definitely left a LARGE chunk of our hearts in Ethiopia. It was all we could really leave with him and we pray he doesn'f forget our promise to come back for him. It was a VERY emotional plane ride, half way around the world yesterday, for both of us, actually probably for all 3 of us. (Here come the tears again...) We already miss him so!!!

Look at this sweet face-- how do you NOT fall in LOVE with him instantly?

He just has the sweetest heart, and the sweetest smile, and the sweetest ooh's and ahhh's.... We miss that so much already. He has the sweetest baby boy voice, and is overcome with emotion and lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees his Daddy!

He picked out jeans to wear the last day we were there because he wanted pants like his daddy's! :) He pees more than anyone we have ever met (14 stairs one way, everytime he needs to go!) He knows to push up his sleeves and wash his hands afterwards without even being prompted. He LOVES to brush his teeth-- can't rememeber that last time I saw anyone that EXCITED about a toothbrush and toothpaste (Thanks Lily!)
He loves to talk about cars and dogs (makeeena's and woo-sha's). He LOVED looking at his pictures and reciting who was who in his picture book! While we were in court, he took the nanny to our room to show her his things. He showed her his toys, his blanket, his pajamas, his sippy cup, and his photo album. She said he was so sweet, and wanted to show her his mommy, his daddy, his brother, his sister and his doggies! The staff just fell in love with him- almost as much as we did! :)

His english was very limited, but by the end of the week we had made HUGE strides! We had learned some Amharic and he had learned a lot of English! He got lots of practice counting to 14 (remember those 14 steps to our bathroom?-LOL) He could say Robby and Caitlin's names and he pretty much was copying everything we said! "You are so silly" was one of my favorites!!!

He loved taking a bath and playing with his tub toys and getting the lotion and oil rub down aftewards!

He LOVES pajamas, his underwear, and socks, and shoes. All the things that we take for granted here in America were such a BIG deal!!! He kept ALL of his stuff stashed in his backpack and he carried it around with him EVERYWHERE around the guesthome!

We joked thinking he would try to sleep with his backpack in his bed! (It rested next to his bed,and was the first thing he checked on each morning he woke up to make sure it was still there!) He is a REALLY good sleeper (10-11 hours each night!)

He LOVES injeria, pizza, pasta, grilled cheese, frenchfries, eggs, peanut butter crackers,egg and cheese crossiants, bananna's, tea and Mirandas. Ok, he had a taste of a SNICKERS bar too. :)

The "what he will eat part once he gets home" should be easy!! Yay! I was a little worried about that!

He loves his teddy bear too (his baby!)

His "baby" loves to kiss and was kept warm by his blanket during the day! He loves to color, watch Thomas the Train, look at his view finder,play with his makena's (cars) and play with playdough! Hours among hours of play and fun!

There are just so many things that I want to share with all of you, but these are just a few memories that stand out with the little sleep that I have had in the last few days! Man, I can't wait to be more tired than this when we make that trek back home with him! I know that kind of travel with a toddler doesn't sound like fun, but we would jump on a plane tomorrow to go get him and bring him home forever!!!

Thanks to all of your prayers!! Thanks for all of your support!!

If you would continue to pray that the rest of our process moves swiftly, then we would be forever greatful!!

We know GOD has had his hand in this adoption from the beginning, so we are leaning on his strength and his timing of bringing this little boy into our home forever!

Love you bunhces little Mamo and we are praying sooo hard that you will be with us VERY soon...and FOREVER!!!! You are already part of this family and it is soo hard to be away from you!!! We will be there soon!

Mommy & Daddy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today an Ethiopian judge confirmed what we felt like God has been telling us all all along! She said the 3 sweetest little words we have ever heard in Ethiopia.... She said "HE'S YOUR SON!"!!!

WE PASSED court and today we became a FAMILY of 5! So happy to finally show his SWEET face to all of you!!! :) Meet our youngest son who became ours November 10th, 2010! :)

We were also able to see and hug Mamo's Dad today and say our goodbye's. He said that we answered a prayer that he had been praying to God for one year. He has been praying for Mamo to have a better life and to be cared for. He was unable to do so.

Welcome to our family meet Daniel Mamo Payne! We celebrated today with lunch - Grilled cheese, club sandwiches,f rench fries with Ketchup and Mirandas (a.k.a. as Orange Crush) that Daddy went and picked up from a local French Bakery! Mamo loved the grilled cheese, french fries and ketchup! :)

We are hanging out the rest of the day playing with Play-Doh (funniest thing ever really! Lots of ooh"s and ahhh's! So sweet! We willl catch up on the days in between when we get back! There is so much going on and it takes me too long to blog! I want to spend every minute with this sweet heart! We are heading home tomorrow night, so we dont have much longer to memorize everything about him! Our new prayer is that we get to come back VERY soon to bring him home-- we begin the next steps of the process! Prayfully 6-8 weeks he will be home with us FOREVER!!! Hugs and Kisses Robby and Caitlin- we love you- we miss you and your brother has been showing all the nannies your pictures! He tells everyone that you are his brother and sister!! See you soon!

Love to all!