Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sweet Somethings in English...

Mamo SAYS....

One of my favorites from today....
Good job buddy mommy.

A surprise phrase he used in the correct context last night at dinner...
Thank you sooooo much (after I gave him more chop-pots(Pork Chops...Ha ha!)

Another surprise at dinner tonight
Want some Robby? Want some Caitlin-lin?(sharing his ranch dressing for dipping)

abcdefT, hijkPPPPP, (something in amharic here), (something in amharic there), Z. :)

Daily conversations.....
Robby school? Caitlin school? Mamo school, yes? (Yes, Mamo. Soon.) Daddy work, yes? Mommy work, no.

Daddy shower? Mommy shower? Robby shower? Caitlin-lin shower? Mamo shower, NO.

Talking to daddy on the phone tonight
Come now home daddy...
Daddy-acies (translation Daddy-licious)
I love you very much

Another favorite
Tomorrow daddy no work, yes?

Tonight watching Idol...
Sil-ly Ran-dy!
Pointing to the bad singers while shaking his finger, No, No No! and holding his ears!

One word we learned in Amharic this week...Potato..De-nee-chee... apprently comfort food from home and went NUTS when he saw a plastic play potato that we got this week (play food), and its all he has talked about. Mama bought a bag of potatoes yesterday :) I mean a bag of de-nee-chees... :)

STILL My favorite every night while we snuggle as he falls asleep...
he grabs hold of both my cheeks tightly with his palms and stares at me very closely and very seriously says...
I love you Mommy... ve-ry much. and he just hangs on to me sooo tight!
That one gets me EVERY night! :)

Love, Love, Love! He keeps all of us laughing, and laughing! and surprising us with his English words! :) We are like...what did he just say? It's like that ALL DAY LONG!

We were trying to explain to him tonight that he was a kid, Robby was a kid, Caitlin was a kid..... He didn't like that at all...
His response...No, Daniel Mamo (while pointing at himself!)
Now, How about that?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I found myself re-reading some old blog posts tonight. Wow, that was a quick journey God sent us on last year. What a blessing our Daniel Mamo has been to us over the last month! Visit our "He's been Home One Month" post HERE

I found this post that we blogged as we were rolling out our fundraising shirts... I got CHILLS when I read it tonight, so thought I would share with you again just how amazing this journey was for us. This describes the meaning behind our CHOSEN shirts that our friends helped us design and print that celebrated our Journey to bring our son home from Ethiopia.
On a sad note, the back of our shirts represented how many ORPHANS there were in the world (147 Million...)I saw a NEW number the other day, and even though it seems like we know a lot of people that are adopting, that number is sadly still GROWING. The numbers are now at 163 Million so our Adoption Memory shirt is just that... a MEMORY of how many Orphans there were. Now there are MORE. And there will be MORE tomorrow. We need MORE families to step out on their faith and say YES!
Did you know that 34% of Christian Families have considered adoption, but only 1% actually do it! Did you know that if we could raise that number to 7% that there would be NO ORPHANS LEFT IN THIS WORLD??? That was a statistic, shared by Katie Davis that SHOOK ME to my core when I was "just reading" her blog. We had no intentions to adopt, I was just reading her blog, but that statistic haunted me.... After I read that, everything began to change and I began to ask WHY NOT US? We had the room, we were capable of loving more, we had plenty to share with someone who had no one and nothing.... There were many tears shared over that quote.. I so didn't want to be a member of that 1%!
I promise you, that if you SAY YES, it will be a blessing beyond blessings. I only wish that ALL of you could experience the JOY and the LOVE that we feel each and everyday with our little guy! We can't imagine LIFE without him!

Here is the post descibing the meaning behind our Adoption Shirts and the story that was CHOSEN to be OUR Adoption Story............Thanks again to all our family, friends and perfect strangers who supported us on this AMAZING journey!

The word CHOSEN represents so many things for our family!!!

We were CHOSEN to be at our church the day our church launched the "Living a Better Story Campaign".
We were CHOSEN to receive that 35$ from that CHOSEN anonymous donor from our church that day.
We were CHOSEN to take our $35 and multiply it to help a local girl, Katie who lives in Uganda, with Amazima Ministries!
Our family and friends were CHOSEN to help us by donating items for a yard sale, in which we raised $563 for Katie's ministry!
We were then CHOSEN and begin to PRAY and research over Spring Break the desire we began to feel in our hearts to adopt!
We were CHOSEN to stand randomly in front of the continent of Africa (at our hotel on our Spring Break trip) as the backdrop of our family picture on our blog(we did not even realize this until we posted the picture...that was sooooo NOT on purpose!). We were not even pursuing or looking to adopt from Africa at this point....
We were CHOSEN to have an opportunity to decide about a Mission Trip traveling to Ethiopia, Africa this summer, in which we had 48 hours to make the decision to go or not go!
My son and I were CHOSEN to be on this trip with 20 other CHOSEN and AMAZING people.
Many of YOU were CHOSEN to help us financially to go on this trip!
Many of you were CHOSEN to donate toys, clothes, soccer balls and cash for this journey for the orphans we were about to visit in Ethiopia, Africa!
Those of you that were CHOSEN were part of God's plan to lead us to our son in a country half way around the world!
We were CHOSEN to go to our sons orphanage the day after he arrived there.
Our plans to go somewhere else that day fell through and we were CHOSEN to go to this unscheduled orphanage.
We were CHOSEN to meet Mamo, where we fell completely in Love with him. Instantly.
My husband's heart was CHOSEN to answer YES to God's calling after I texted him from Africa and told him about meeting Mamo and asked him if he could welcome him into our family.
He was CHOSEN the next day to contact our Home Study agency to set up our first appointment, while we were still half way around the world.
Our agency was CHOSEN to agree to let us pursue him, even though we weren't 100% paper ready.
We were CHOSEN to hear this news hours before our first homestudy visit!
We were CHOSEN to complete his paperwork diligently (at lightening speed) to be ready when the courts would reopen, which we were told would be sometime in late September/Early October.
Our paperwork was CHOSEN to be submitted to the courts the EXACT day the Ethiopia courts re-opened after their long winter break!
Many of you were CHOSEN to support us by buying the Uganda magazine beads for yourselves and your friends, which in turn offsets some of our adoption costs!
Some of you were CHOSEN to help us sell MULTIPLE beads and took it upon yourselves to tell your friends and help us raise money for not just our adoption, but also raising money for 147 Million Orphans and for Katie's Ministry.
Many of you were CHOSEN to donate or are donating TONS of STUFF for our upcoming Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale, that takes place later this month!
A Lot of you were CHOSEN to offer your help at this upcoming event!
Some of you were CHOSEN to have the creative ideas for this tshirt design, the creative skill to create the shirt and the ability to help us pick some AMAZING shirts that signify this AMAZING journey!
As you can see CHOSEN means so much to our family... we have been on this journey to bring our son home from Africa,
and we KNOW we were CHOSEN to be on this journey, which no doubt has been a journey of a lifetime!
We are delighted that we have walked this walk with so many of you who have CHOSEN to support us with your prayers, your time, your love, your guidance, your support and your gifts!

This shirt is to CELEBRATE ALL OF YOU and the rest of YOU who are still joining our journey to bring our son home!

This CHOSEN shirt recognizes your role in helping us bring our son home from half way around the world and into our arms!

We couldn't have done it without you!!! We have been so grateful of all the friends, family and strangers that GOD has CHOSEN to be a part of something that we know HE favors! And we are anxious to see who else has been CHOSEN to join this journey with us!!!

"Do not be afraid, for I AM with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth."
Isaiah 43:5-6

Blessings to ALL!
The Payne Family :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Home forever ONE month today!!!!! We have been busy loving on our little guy! Being a family of 5 ROCKS!

Wow!!!! We can hardly believe it, but Daniel Mamo has been home now for ONE month! We have been super duper BUSY with this little guy! He is such a doll. Here are some answers to many of your questions and OF COURSE, LOTS of photos!!!


It has been REALLY easy! He just fit right in with us, like he had been here all along. We feel VERY blessed that his transition and ours was so easy. It was just so easy; did I just say that? :) So easy in fact, that Philip and I have asked each other WHY don't more people adopt? If you have kids already, then you just add another mouth to feed and another heart to love! It's been a SUPER easy transition! Thank you LORD! I know we are very blessed to have had such an easy transition to each other!


They LOVE him to pieces. They are so proud of their little brother and they smother him constantly with attention, hugs and kisses. They love showing him off to their friends and their friends are just eat him up to, so the little guy is constantly being loved on! :)


YES! He is such a sweet boy. At first, he was more of a daddy's boy, but now he is a mama's boy too! We all love each other so much and he trusts us completely! One of OUR favorite things to do with him is lay down at night in his bed with him while he falls asleep. He always snuggles up next to me, places both of his hands on my cheeks, pulls up close to me, kisses both of my cheeks and says that he loves me. Melts a mama's heart, let me tell ya!. I am so glad that Jesus broke my heart for what breaks his. I am so happy that he told us to get out of comfort zone and to see what breaks his heart. I am so Happy that we obeyed and as a reward, we now have a sweet, sweet boy, who had no one to care for him, living in our midst for a lifetime! We are so thankful for his love and the opportunity to love on him ! No doubt about it, He is God's precious gift!


He loved it. He still mostly plays downstairs where we are... he doesn't play a whole lot in his room yet, he wants to be with us at all times. (Which is fine with mama!)
Just realized we never showed you his cute room!

He has recently found his train table and takes trips upstairs to play with this!

He has gotten over his fear of the doggies... he really likes Acey! Acey even let him walk him!

Mamo does now sleep in his room and he is a REALLY GOOD sleeper! He sleeps from 8pm till 7am usually! That's 11 hours folks!!! :) Yay! Nap time is a struggle ( but we don't care so much since he is sleeping so long at night!)- we just have quiet time in his room for 45 minutes but he rarely goes to sleep. He loves to read books!


The final diagnosis was Rota virus, which he may have picked up on the plane, the airport or anywhere. He also had a couple parasite friends that have been kicked out of his tummy. Our tummy is now a LOT smaller! He also had a bladder infection and of course a touch of ringworm. All of that is now under control as well. We were just so blessed he didn't have malaria. So relieved. Once we got all the diagnosis, we had him cleaned up in no time. Again, pretty easy! and He feels sooo much better! So happy! He had probably had some of that stuff for a really long time!!!


Well, he literally JUST arrived, but Christmas morning he walked into our den to see a cool tent and a bunch of toys and he figured out pretty quickly they were for him!

He became quite the PROFESSIONAL present many people have stopped by to see him and even though we already had a shower for him, people keep showing up with gifts! Thanks to everyone...I have been meaning to get to my thank you notes,,,,please understand he has kept us so busy, and I haven't had time!!!! BUT we are truly thankful for all of your sweet gifts! :)


Well, we ventured out for the first time with him last Sunday. We just went to one service and then we came home. He is still quite overwhelmed with everything, but he is also very trusting us that he is safe. He just sat right beside us and he did real good for the entire hour service. We have talked to our pastor about having him baptized, and we are thinking that may happen in February sometime.
Visit from Reverend Strange!


IT seemed like it at first, since he was sick when he came home. We have been to the doctor twice, hospital for labs once for a blood draw, been to Vandy Children's ER for more blood draws, he's had 4 shots, been to a Urologist and we have made a trip to the dentist. Most of his appointments were within his first week of being home, so now it has really slowed down! He has done reasonably well at all of these appointments. Blood draws were definitely the worst. Shots were not a big deal really. The Dentist visit was a piece of cake! He was so proud of his NEW toothbrush they gave him!!!

He really liked the dentist! We have 4 more shots at the end of this month!


Yes, our hopes are that first of February we start 2 days a week at CPA! He is excited about going to school! When Robby and Caitlin are gone at school he tells me he wants to go to school. Mamo school? Mamo teacher? He loves to ride in the car when we go pick up Caitlin at school. We have pointed out his school and he says Mamo school soon. So cute! Only problem here is that he knows Robby rides the school bus to school, so guess who wants to ride a bus to school? He's not gonna like it when he finds out Mommy and Daddy are the bus! We passed 2 busses today out running errands and the little guy is screaming from the backseat "Mommy bus, Daddy Bus!!! Mamo bus! Uh-oh!


I go back to work middle of March! Time is flying by already! I am loving being at home with him! He is a blast! We have been enjoying so many "FIRSTS" with him! We are soaking up every minute and continuing to bond and love each other! I am so grateful that I was able to take this time with him! We have been VERY busy! :)


Well, that small snow we got at Christmas he was not a fan. Too cold! The first few weeks he was home, he was constantly COLD! Bless his heart! He did go on the sled at my mom's house, but there was very little snow! So, really this past week was his first time to see a BIG snow! We all bundled up and went out and he LOVED it!

He mostly ate the snow!

All the neighborhood kids kept handing him snowballs and laughing at how much snow he was eating!!!
New Friends in our neighborhood :)

He stayed out longer than his mommy and his sister and he cried when daddy made him come back in! Guess he got over the cold part of snow! He was freezing, but he didn't want to miss out on any of the fun...he wanted to be with his Robby and his friends! Later he went back out with daddy and big brother and they went sledding! He loved it!
Thawing out inside.... and our First Hot Cocoa...

The next day he went out with mommy and we did some more sledding! He sled with me a few times and then wanted to do it on his own. Mr.Independent! I would have killed Philip if he had done it, but mama let him do it! He did great! (But I was not up for trying that again...once was enough!) You really let go of all control, because remember you can tell him what to do, but he doesn't understand when I say lean back or keep you hands in the sled. Oi! He was beaming as he got to the bottom of the hill and I was beaming he wasn't hurt!


Well, he doesn't really get that we are trying to give him an American name. He thinks we are being funny when we call him Daniel Mamo. He says Daniel Mommy, Daniel Robby, Daniel Daddy and Daniel Caitlin. LOL. I blame Philip because he started calling him Mamo-licious right before we called him Daniel Mamo and he thinks that is hilarious. So when Philip calls him that, then he calls us daddy-licious, mommy-licous, Robby-licous, Caitlin-licous and starts cracking up laughing.... So for now he is Mamo! His given name is Daniel Mamo, so if he decides he wants an American name one day,then he has one! He is old enough to know what his name is...and he has already lost so much...and we think Mamo is sweet! :) So if you want him to answer you, and not call you Daniel (insert your name here), then call him Mamo. After all, that has been his name for 3 1/2 years! :)


At first this is what we thought we would do. A lot of our adoption education suggested we just hang and cocoon him. Well, we have cocooned him, but we have also been venturing out. He has been to McDonald's for a Happy Meal....
which was his treat for surviving 4 shots at the doctor!

He has been on a Sam's run and to Chick-Fil-a, he has been to the park on those few warmer days we had, he has been to lunch with his mom's friends to the Puffy Muffin! He has gone to see his sister's school, he has been to the YMCA. He has been to Las Palmas three times! He has had a playdate at Mama Meg's house and we have been to the library for story time!
Once we are all dressed for the day, he wants to know where we are going!!! He starts saying Mamo Mommy's car or Mamo Daddy's car! He is such a goood little guy! He really isn't fussy or anything! My friends and I were surprised how well he did at a long lunch at the Puffy! He was quite enterntained with his food and was content while we visited! Last week we went on our first play date at Mama Megs!The Benton boys are so much fun!
First Ice Cream treat at Chick-Fil-A.....He LOVED it! :)He thought it was funny how cold it was! He loves Mulk (Milk),so we figured he would love the icecream treat!


His english is coming along REALLY well. We have been saying more things in English to him instead of Amharic forcing him to use the english word. We are letting him ask us for stuff now instead of assuming what he wants. (Example- I know he wantS Cheerios for breakfast, but we are pushing to say Mamo hungry and to say cereal.) Making progrss here. It's been a lot easier than we thought it would be comminicating with him. Its been fun too! We have all learned a little of Amharic and he is learning English and is proud of himself when he gets it!He can say Mamo Mommys car, daddy work, Robby and Caitlin-lin school, Mamo hungry, good morning, thank you, please, car, doggie, he knows all of his facial body parts, he can count to 10 in english, he knows most of the days of the week, he knows a lot of fruits, he loves to tell us he wants chocolate mulK and EVERYDAY his list is growing! Just yesterday he said a WHOLE LOT of words we didn't realize he knew. He is listening to EVERYTHING and processing all day! Yesterday, He told the dogs to SHUT UP when they were barking and we just all stood in amazement. We quickly corrected him that that wasn't a nice word. We were asking each other where he has heard that word before? Hmmm.. Robby and Caitlin had just gotten in a squabble and aparently that word was used ( mom apparently hadn't heard that), and daddy often tells the doggies to shut up when they are barking like crazy. Hmmm, we have to modify some word choices around here! LOL. He doesn't miss a beat!


Playdough, his trike, his inch worm, cho-co-late mulk (that is our favorite thing he says), bananas, oranges, cookies, cupcakes, (really any kind of food- he is NOT a picky eater!)
He loves to read his books, he loves to play with his cars, and he LOVES his tools!
This boy loves his shoes...

(a real deep love for shoes) ha, ha)
his always has his water bottle with him (he's very hydrated :),
he loves to help mommy cook...

and help Caitlin bake,

he loves to be a HELPER,

He is a daddy snuggler,

he loves to watch Calliou, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,Handy Manny and the Bernstein Bears! He loves his daddy, he loves his mommy, he loves his Caitlin and he loves his Robby and constantly wants to know where he is..

It has truly been a busy and fun filled month as we grew from a family of 4 to a Family of 5! I wouldnt trade any of these memories for the world! We are so thankful for the gift of this little boy!

He makes us ALL smile ALL day long!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

(Going backwards one more time!) Our trip HOME to America!!!

Well, like I was saying we were sooo excited to begin our journey home, but with HEAVY hearts at the same time! We were nervous of how that LONG the flight home would be with Mamo! We were equipped with a special suitcase for him, full of toys to distract him if needed on the flight home!

It is a 17 hour flight from Addis to DC. Then we had layovers and 2 more flights before we landed in Nashville! I don't even know how much "travel time" that equated to...30ish hours I think!

We all showered, packed up and waited on our driver to come get us!Mamo was so excited all day to be going to America! Mamo found his nifty CARS luggage and practiced pulling it around the guest home! Between that and his toy airplane he was READY to go! :)

It was so hard saying goodbye...
Mamo helped us load the luggage in the car... he couldn't wait to get on that plane and he is such a BIG helper!!!
We were amazed at how much he seemed to understand what was going on!

When he saw the airplane out the window of the airport he was soooo excited! He practically ran onto the airplane and his adrenalin had kicked into over drive! He was sooo funny! He was sooo excited! Everyone kept translating and telling us that he was sooo happy to be going to America!!! :) Sweetness! He buckled up, played around with his lights, his headphones, his tray table, the buttons on his TV screen and his radio.... totally cracking us up the whole time!

We were so worried at how he would do at take off and then, just like that, he was asleep! We had a 10:30pm flight so he just crashed and he was asleep for the next 12 hours! No kidding!!! :) When he finally woke up he had lunch, and tea, watched some disney movies, again played with the lights and the headsets and really was most enjoyable! He was super easy on the plane and just seemed to be content with what was happening!
We landed in DC, changed into our CHOSEN gear and jumped on 2 more airplanes that were Nashville bound!!

There were so many people praying for us and welcoming us home! It truly meant more than we can ever express!! :)Our airport party was sooo cool!!! :)

He loved the ride home from the airport, he thought his new car seat was cool and he loved being in the back with his brother and sister! He just laughed and chatted the whole way home!
This is what we were greeted with when we pulled into our subdivison!
How COOL is that??? We also had balloons and signs on our porch and in our house welcoming our newest addition!! It was so special!!

He was very excited to walk into his new home! He was smiling and laughing! He as throwing his little body on each couch, chair and bed and just laughing and being silly! He had his Robby and Caitlin-lin-lin very near him and he was so happy to be with them! :)He loved his room! He loved all of his goodies and his clothes and his shoes! He especially loved all the MIRRORS in the bathrooms!!! :)

We were all pretty exhausted so we ordered a pizza then went to bed! Mamo played with Robby and Caitlin and let them oogle over him as he oogled over them!
That night when we put him to bed in our room, Caitlin noticed he was BURNING up with fever. We knew he had a cold with a bad cough while we were in Ethiopia, but he had never ran a temperature. We checked him and he was 103.5! Bless his heart! He was having so much fun and was being so happy that we didn't even suspect he was running a fever! If you have read my blog posts when we first returned, then you know the next 6 days would prove to be doctor and hospital and ER filled! His fever actaully broke Christmas Eve at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital! Thank you lord!

Ok, except for the video's of Daniel Mamo's HOMECOMING I am mostly caught up now!

Thanks again to all of you who read our blog, and who have enjoyed our adventure bringing this little one home! There are over 163 MILLION Orphans that just need someone JUST LIKE YOU to step up and say that they have room in their hearts and their homes! There is so much NEED, DESPERATE NEED, and so much LOVE to give and to share!

God always whispered to me MORE THAN ENOUGH as we were on this journey! We HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH, so much more than so many in this world, he provided MORE THAN ENOUGH support of friends and family during this adoption, he provided MORE THAN ENOUGH funds to make this adoption happen (in record time, I might add.. this adoption went crazy FAST!). I look back and I wonder what is next...because after seeing what we have seen, not once, not twice but THREE times I KNOW that we still have MORE THAN ENOUGH! DO YOU?

John 14:18
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Matthew 25:35-40
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

When you are generous and truly help those in need, you are actually doing so to Jesus. When you do it to the least of these, it is as if you’re helping Jesus Himself! Let this be encouragement to you the next time you see someone in need. When you help those who most need it, you are pleasing God.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Going backwards a bit... Our journey back to Ethiopia to bring our son HOME!

Well, we had LESS than a week to prepare that we were going to back to Ethiopia to bring our little guy home! We had been granted the December 16th Embassy appointment! I can't begin to tell you how SHOCKED that we were that we even got that date...we were hoping for December 30th and had been told to prepare for a date sometime in January. Looks like God had other plans for his early arrival-so glad he did!!!

Some of our Friends hosted a Shower for us and we had initially planned for the date to be December 19th; right before the invite went to print I thought we should move it up a week "Just in case"! That ended up being a GREAT call! :)

The Shower for Daniel Mamo was filled with good family, good friends, and our first winter snow! :) Daniel Mamo received lots of little goodies for his room, to wear and to play with! Thanks everyone for your generosity! The food was yummy and the company was even better! :)

We had to leave the shower a little early, and in haste, because the roads were starting to ice over. In Nashville? Yep, in Nashville! Our friends loaded up our sleigh, I mean Envoy, and we left to go all the way home (approx 4 miles)... that took OVER one and one half hours! That is called Nashville snow freak out on the roads! I promise my next car will have 4 wheel drive! Caitlin, my mother in law and I were doing some heavy praying on the way home, as we were stuck sideways on the top of Dolly Parton's hill. No way was I driving (sliding) down it and it didn't matter cause we were stuck. It was a miracle we made it as far as we had because their were cars littered all over the road up that tiny hill we did make it up! All I could think about at the top was that we had a half a tank of gas and that would be where we would be spending the night. I was remembering how we left the next day for our journey to get Daniel and how I hadn't packed a thing. Hmmm... then out of no where came a salt truck--- I can't tell you HOW relieved we all were! We made it home! I was so worried about my family and friends, but everyone made it home.. it took some longer than we did and my sister had to do a little hiking to get home, but everyone got home safe and sound! Thanks again to everyone for making Daniel's shower such a special one for me! (It was my first shower ever!) :) I felt so honored and so very loved! I know when Daniel Mamo meets all of you he will feel the same way and we are so blessed to have so many family members and friends who have supported us in so many ways during the addition of Daniel Mamo into our family! We rushed home and packed and put the little guy's room together as much as we could! My wonderful mother-in-law finished it up for us while we were in Ethiopia!

Here is our snow the next morning!!! This is A LOT of Nashville snow! and we are always so terribly prepared for it! Oh well! :) The kids had a BLAST the morning after!!!

Phil and I headed out to Washington to spend the night there and then we left early the next morning headed to Ethiopia! We met our friends (The Schmidt's), that we had met on our court trip in November in Dulles, and made some new friends as we flew out of Nashville (Mark Johnson).. Mark lives about 3 miles from us; yet we met him as we were flying over 7,000 miles to go pick up our son! He was flying solo to pick up his son Asher! What a dad! :)

The flight was a good one and we have nothing to compare it to, but just getting there and having no layovers seems to be the best way to get there....

We arrived at the guest home and showered then headed over to get our babies!!! :)

We didn't really know what to expect, but we were sure that Mamo would remember us and were praying that he would be happy to see us! :) When we got there it took him awhile to come out of the orphanage. He seemed to be a little unsure of everything. We were sure they had told him what was happening-- he had been bathed and was wearing clean clothes, but he was very leery about coming to us at first. He was probably remembering that just a month before we left him there (which was so hard!).
The workers kept telling him to hug us and go to us and he did, but with some hesitation. Man, it looked like we were going to be starting ALL over with him! As we were leaving, his friends had surrounded the car and he was starting to whimper and then he started screaming Chow! Chow! to his friends! Maybe at that moment he began to believe that this time he really WAS going to America with us!!! :)

In a way had to start over a little with him. We had brought a few of his things from our trip before and he seemed to remember them. His love for his daddy he definitely remembered. :) We took the kids to get haircuts and then came home and ate! He was up most of the night with a terrible cough that soon eventually would turn into something more fun....

Mike and Philip both walked to the pharmacy after breakfast the next morning to get some cough syrup for the kids. There son Asarat, who just happend to be Mamo's bunk mate, also had the lovely cough. The walk to the pharmacy proved to be an adventure and one that continued to stretch my husband way out of his comfort zone. We gave Mamo the secret potion of medicine (we only recognized the ingredient Benadryl, and he was in a haze for the rest of the day!) While, they were gone I enjoyed Mamo and his friends watching the Cars video in bed while their mom showered! I know I look terrible, but this is one of my favorite pictures and a sweet, sweet memory. All 3 kids were just piled up in bed with some crazy American and laughing, and trusting, and smiling and watching American cartoons! God is soooo good!

Thursday December 16th was our Embassy date and we were such a bundle of nerves! All went well! We passed and he was officially was released into our custody and cleared to take HOME! Because we were present on his court date and his Embassy we were told that when we arrived in America, Mamo would officially be a US Citizen!

Translation to that means less paperwork when we get home! Yay!

We celebrated by going to dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant with traditional Ethiopian food and Ethiopian dance! (We did cheat and enjoyed a burger and fries from Kaldi's before hand...just in case!)

Kristi Johnson and Kelly Putty were also in Ethiopia and we enjoyed having dinner with them! These 2 ladies both had a HUGE part in us bringing Daniel Mamo home! It only seemed right that God would put them, together, right in our paths the day we cleared the Embassy, IN ETHIOPIA. Come on, what are the odds? That is God people...
They both live a few miles from us and we had never met them or heard of either of them until last July, then BAM he placed them smack dab into our path! Remember they live a few miles down the road from us and here we are sitting having dinner in ETHIOPIA! God is in ALL of the details! (On a side note...The following week our family journeyed to Las Palmas here in Nashville and guess who we had dinner with in Nashville? Kristi and her family! We sat literally right beside each other! That is what I'm talking about!!!It's crazy like that!!!)

(Robby and I traveled with Ordinary Hero, aka Kelly P, this past July where we met Mamo. Philip and I talked with her and her hubby Shane about adopting from Ethiopia and also spoke with her sister Kristi and her husband, Will,about their journey adopting Lucy Lane.... My husband was very much on the fence and these 2 families helped me shove him over. LOL) So grateful for their push! :)

The next day everyone from our group was departing,but we had decided to stay an extra day. We journeyed out to do some shopping and went out to eat some yummy Chinese food. There is a lot of Chinese industry coming to Ethiopia; the land is cheap and they are buying it up. Afterwards we went to get our paperwork from the Embassy clearing us for travel home!

We said farewell to many of our friends and bid them farewell...

then we went to dinner with our friend Bizi and his girlfriend! Robby and I met Bisrat on our mission trip in July. He is an amazing man with an incredible story and a HUGE heart filled with the Holy Spirit! We are blessed to know him and to love him!

The last day we were there we met up with another friend, Israel, who we had met on our last trip to Ethiopia. Philip and I helped send him to school last semester and he is working on his Masters in Missions. He invited us to a coffee ceremony in his home; so 3 Ethiopian cab rides later (an experience all in itself), we were at his home. We were able to meet his lvoely wife and his new son!

He has a lovely family and a nice home! He showed us his grades and thanked us for helping him with his school. We were honored to do so. He treated us to lunch and a traditional coffee cermony. We prayed with him when we left asking the Lord to continue to bless him, his family and his education. Education doesn't come easy to those in Ethiopia.
Later that day, 3 taxi rides home and being asked about why we had Mamo from an Ethiopian lady (mama nearly freaked out), we were back to the guesthome to shower, pack and prepare Mamo to fly home to America. BTW, when the Ethiopian lady found out that we had adopted Mamo she blessed us many times... ( still that was a little more than I could handle...)

We showered up, packed up and were ready to depart home to see all of our family and friends!!! I have to say that we were so excited to be going home, but my heart especially started getting real heavy... I journeyed to Ethiopia 3 times this year and my husband has traveled twice... Ethiopia is FOREVER in our hearts and on our minds and it was very hard to bid farewell to such an amazing place.

We met our son here, I watched my son (Robby) learn about REAL need and REAL desperation, I watched Robby learn to give like I could never have taught him otherwise, I watched his heart change, then mine, I then watched my husbands heart do a 360 degree change on both trips, I have watched my daughter fall completely in love with someone she had never met, and to be perfectly honest, who was threatened by this little guy coming into our family.

Biblically, spriitually speaking, we have been changed by this adoption and what we have seen, felt and witnessed. Our hearts are FOREVER changed by this place. Ethiopia is a place of unbeleivelable beauty, unbeleivelable hardship like we have never seen, brown and black faces that are yearning, hoping and dreaming of a better future. I KNOW this will NOT be our last trip here. I just know it.

“The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” 1 Kings 10:24
Be a generous dispenser of wisdom to others. Make time for people to get to know your heart, and understand the life-lessons God has forged into your faith (1 Kings 4:34).