Thursday, July 22, 2010

Watch Ryan Meet Easton!

I've been with Easton for a while now, but Ryan first saw him on July 16th.

If you promise not to start crying, watch Ryan's reaction to meeting his son for the first time.

Some things are priceless.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We Are A Family!

YAAAAY!!!! We are parents!! We have Easton here with us!! Ryan and I just made our first bottle, it was comical!!!

We found out around 11am our time on Tuesday that we passed court. We went to the U.S. Embassy to get a form notarized then on to the Guest House.

We've decided that Easton will be going with me on the mission trip. How could I go without him?

The three of us are going to hang out and get used to each other for the next few days.

We are so happy to finally be able to share Easton with everyone.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our "Meetcha Day" Moment

Today we are perfect! God has completely exceeded our expectations and blessed us beyond our dreams. We went to the transition home at 7:30 this morning so we could meet Easton together before our 10am court date. The weather was absolutely beautiful so we had our "Meetcha Day" moment outside. Our driver, Samuel was our videographer and Leeanne, a fellow adoptive mom, was the photographer. Easton was brought out to us, wearing a brown zip up jacket and brown pants with puppies on the feet. He looked precious! As soon as he saw us he started smiling and laughing, Ryan held him for the first time and I cried, and cried, and cried!! =) It was the official moment we became a family, it was priceless.

Our court appearance was also a success. We were in a very crowded room and waited to be called into small side room. (It wasn't an actual courtroom, as I anticipated). We sat down and the judge, a beautiful Ethiopian women, asked us if we had children, why we chose to adopt from Ethiopia, if we had training in adoption and transracial family challenges, and if our friends and family were supportive. Ryan answered each question confidently and the judge nodded in approval. Then she asked, "Have you met A*****?" We both shook our heads "Yes" and smiled big. She then said, "After meeting him are you sure that you want to adopt him, this decision is irrevocable." We both immediately and simultaneously said "YES, Absolutely YES!"

Duni, our Africa Adoption Director, told us that we should pass on the 21st!!! After that we believe it will be about 4-6 weeks to get Easton and I home!! Please be praying that the US Embassy works efficiently to allow our paperwork to pass through and issue a Visa for Easton!!! There is an Embassy appointment on August 18th or September 1st that we could possibly have.

After court we went back to Easton and spent over 4 hours with him. Ryan held him and studied his every move and feature. We are both amazed at how incredibly sweet and happy he is. He doesn't even spit up!!! He is a thumb sucker though! Ryan was holding him and Easton made a little scream. Then Ryan realized he had his left hand pinned against his chest. As soon as he moved it Easton found his thumb and was completely content again! He definitely has an obsession with his left thumb! I can't wait to be able to introduce a pacifier! (We've decided not to introduce a pacifier or our formula until we are closer to going home. We want to keep things as consistent as possible for him right now.)

We thank you so much for your love and support. Today wouldn't have happened if it weren’t for all of the support we have received through our journey to parenthood.

We love you all, Ashlie and Ryan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finally...a court date!!

What a week! I said, "Goodbye" to Mom on Friday and cried so hard that my driver Samuel put his arm around me and said, "Ohhhhh, Ashlie, it will be okay." Mom made it home safely and I can tell that there aren't many moments that she isn't thinking about Easton and I. I am very appreciative for the 2 weeks that she spent here with us and can't wait to be together again.

On Monday, we found out that our court date is July 21st!!! Praise the Lord! Court Closure are likely to happen in the beginning of August for Ethiopia's flood season. We are so blessed to have made the cut off. Now we need to pray that we pass the first time! (50% of families do not, due to unpredictable court procedures, such as no electricity or lost files!) We found out today that our Agency is trying to move our court date to July 13th. I am going to be in Uganda on July 19th-July 26th but Ryan and I were told we can give our consent to the judge on July 13th. Then today we found out the whole court date might be changed. Which is great because it's a week before! Time is precious!!! We will know for sure tomorrow. Ryan is booking his ticket today!!! I can't wait for him to get here, I think he will have lots of mix emotions, as I did. It looks like the cheapest way for him to come is to leave Sunday, arriving Monday night and staying until July 28th. He will stay here, while I'm in Uganda to be with Easton daily. That means Easton doesn't have to go a day without his Mommy or Daddy!

After we pass court we will wait for the US Embassy to give us an adorable Passport with Easton's picture!! =) This can take 4-12 weeks. Obviously, we are rooting for 4 weeks! Best case scenarios right now is THAT Easton and I come home the 2nd week in August!! PRAYING!!!

Something Special: The 3 Nannies that my mom and I adore, the ones we took pictures with, gave me a gift today! They were VERY secretive because I'm sure they could get in trouble. It was in a plastic bag and then wrapped in foil paper. Inside was an Ethiopia Purse, small scarf and an Africa beaded necklace! I cried!! I can't believe they felt a need to give ME a gift!!! Wow, it was very overwhelming but I felt their love and compassion. I wish I could communicate with them better, they speak virtually no English and my Amharic uselEss. Their names are Radwa, Aselefech, and Firehiwot. They weren't there the 1st day we met Easton (a Sunday) but were there the next day. They taught me how to feed him, showed me how they change him, and welcomed me to spend all day with them. I have a very special bond with them and pray I will be able to impact their lives and show them how much I appreciate the way the cared for our son. Please keep these three women in you prayers!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Update from Ethiopia

My days are flying by here in Ethiopia! Everyday I spend about 6 hours with Easton, it's heavenly! He continues to show his happiness to us and we can't get enough of him. The last 2 days he has been sleeping alot, maybe a growth spurt?
Here are some things that I love about Ethiopia and a couple heartbreaking things!

Things I love about Ethiopia:
#1. Baby Easton!!!!!!!! :o) Being with him everyday makes every sacrifice seem insufficient. He eludes happiness that is contagious. I just can’t wait to share him with friends and family!
#2. Fresh squeezed pineapple juice every morning.
#3. The way men and women embrace each other as they walk down the street. They are either holding hands or have their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders or waist. This is a sign of endearment but honestly at first I thought, “WOW, Ethiopia has a large gay population!!” hahaha =)
#4. How far a US dollar can go! =) The only thing that is really expensive is the transportation! We are paying $30/day for a driver! Working on finding a cheap, reliable driver right now. I’m not confident enough to try public transportation, yet.
#5. How nice the people are! I have never felt threatened or unsafe. Our driver Alazar loves to say that, “Addis Ababa is the safest city in Africa.” I believe him!
#6. The bumpy road that leads to Easton’s transitional home. It makes baby Preston toss and turn in my belly. I love the feeling now! I need to post a video of the ride, it’s comical!
#7. Everyone is working! Sweeping and window washing is seen on every street corner. Taxi cars are washed and tires pumped with air. Women are selling roasted corn for less than $0.10 each. Boys wait to polish your shoes and sell you a pack of gum. There is a huge desire to work and earn money and you can see that “hard worker” is a characteristic that Ethiopians strive for.

Things that break my heart in Ethiopia:
#1. Children who are walking on the street during school hours. There is no such thing as public education and only children who come families who can afford school have the privilege to go. What is horribly wrong with this is that the same children who come from poverty will not be educated, therefore repeating the cycle of poverty. There is little hope for them to get a good job and be progressive for their own children one day. It’s a vicious cycle.
#2. The crippled and disabled. Any Ethiopian who cannot work is basically left to a life on the streets. Being disabled means you are a burden on your family and you cannot build a sustainable life, therefore you beg.
#3. That the average Ethiopia lives on less that $1.00 USD a day.
#4. The dogs. There are dogs, even puppies, scrounging for food everywhere. Being an animal lover, my heart breaks when I see them. They are covered in scars and flies and their ribs visible through a thin layer of fur. I want so badly to feed them but I am torn. I care more about people than dogs; there are too many people in Addis Ababa who are living the same life as a street dog. Heartbreaking.