Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meeting Easton

On Sunday, June 20th, I had the life-changing experience of meeting our son for the first time!!!! Here are the details~ Steven and Amy Smith joined my Mom and I after church as we crammed into a 1980 Toyota Tercel. We drove through Addis with no idea of where we were or how far away the Transition Home was. We drove past the Zimbabwe Embassy, along with many other Embassies, and then down the bumpiest road I have ever been on. I actually thought that we were going to get a flat tire and my “Metcha day” would have to be rescheduled. I asked our driver Alazar if we were getting close and he said “YES!” Steven turned on the Flip video recorder to capture the whole thing. As we drove to the Transition home we passed a man peeing on the side of the road, multiple people walking, and a husband and wife carrying a live goat my it’s feet. We all busted up laughing at this “special moment”. We then saw the sign for “American World”. My heart dropped as we drove to the gate the Alazar honked the horn for the guard. This was it, the Moment was here….and then the guard came out and said “No, no appointment”. My heart sank as I waited for the men to discuss the situation in Amharic. Then they involved a few nannies, made multiple cell phone calls, all as we prayed in the back seat. After 5 minutes of negotiations the guard surprisingly opened the gate! I have no idea how Alazar changed is mind. We walked straight into the house and back to the baby room where my driver Alazar told the nannies that A**** (name not disclosed for privacy reasons) was my baby. Right when I thought I was going to meet him, then the nanny took me to wash my hands and take off my shoes. I kept telling myself, “breath, Ashlie, breath”. After I quickly washed my hands I walked back to the room and asked if my cameraman and photographer were ready. Then I stepped into the room as the nanny brought me our son, wrapped up in a blanket. I put him in the corner of my left arm and squeezed tight. I was happy, elated, overwhelmed! Then I went to kiss his cheek and held it…I kinda got stuck when the emotions came over me and I gasp for my breath. Here is our baby, our Easton. What a moment!!!!! Then I looked up, smiled at the camera, (I have a thing for posing!)
Well, that was it, my “Meetcha Day”. Now I am excited for Ryan to have his day with our baby Easton! We received good news today that our court date should be scheduled soon. We are very hopeful that Ryan will be here in no time! Having time to blog is a little more difficult than I thought. The Internet is slow as a snail so I literary spend 30 minutes trying to email Ryan. Unfortunately, the Internet goes in and out of service, wasting a lot of the time. I would love to blog about Ethiopia and my experience later on. Right now, everything is revolving around time with Easton.
Here’s an Easton Update! He is the happiest baby I have ever been around! He has NEVER (and I seriously mean NEVER) cried with me! It’s been 4 days!! =) Lucky me! He is making my entry into motherhood a dream come true! He loves to smile, coo and tell me all about his day! He loves to be held over my shoulder, it’s his favorite! He sucks his thumb and it usually puts him to sleep. It’s only been 4 days but I’m pretty sure that he has already started to bond with me, such a blessing! The only bad part is giving him back to the nannies in the baby room when our driver has arrived. Every time I wipe away a tear and feel an emptiness in my heart. It's sad to leave him but every memory I have of him at 3 months make it completely worth the tears. Atleast I know I'll be back tomorrow to spend my entire day with him!
More to come soon!!! Thank you for all your encouraging emails and facebook messages!! They mean so much to me!
Hugs, Ashlie

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In Ethiopia!! :)

We Made It!!!

Mom and I safely arrived in Ethiopia around 6:35pm Saturday. It was a long 24 hours of traveling but everything was perfect! We rushed to make both connecting flights but were VERY pleased to find that all our bags made it! We were absolutely blessed Friday morning when US Airways allowed us to bring SEVEN 50lbs bags with us! We each packed 1 bag for our personal needs, 1 for baby Easton, 1 for food, and 3 FULL of donations!!!! We are so excited to pass out our donations to the transition home and orphanages.

Details about the trip (Most of this information is for the adoption community and those who are planning to come Ethiopia)

*Lufthansa Airlines was wonderful! The stewards worked extremely hard and the entertainment (TV/Movies) was great. I’m thankful that Mom and I brought blow up butt circles! =) Honestly, we wanted something comfortable to sit on and we really needed them. The cushions in the seats were almost non-existent. The food was just okay, they were all prepackaged meals and made my stomach turn when smelling them. Since our lay over’s only gave us about 45 minutes before boarding time we didn’t get to eat in the airport. Good thing we both had good snacks in our backpacks.

*We met Abinet, AWAA employee, at the Airport. He was there for all the families who were coming to pick up their children. (There were 4 families here to meet and bring home their children by next Saturday) We hung out with the group in the airport but then we went with our driver Alazar. Since our travel schedule is unlike everyone else’s we had to hire a separate driver. Unfortunately, it’s costing about $40/day. The positive side is that Alazar is extremely nice, speaks great English, was born and raised in Addis, and is our personal driver. We will have him everyday to transport us to Easton’s home, museums, dinners, and site seeing. This will last for 2 weeks, until Mom leaves, and then I will have to find a cheaper way to get around.

*Yebsabi Guest House-SOOOO nice!!!!!!!!! We are in the single room with a bathroom! I was surprised to see a little 12 inch tv on the wall! (only 3 channels though!) The receptionist and porters were welcoming and helpful. I know we are going to love our stay here.

*Internet-As soon as I got here I fired up my computer to talk to Ryan! Skype worked right away and we were able to chat for 10 minutes. Now, an hour later, web pages won’t load and I can’t sign in to AOL. Bummer! Hopefully, the strong internet connection will come back. I have a feeling it is just inconsistent. As long as I can share my experience with my hubby and friends I’m happy!

That’s it for now! Tomorrow is the DAY!! I’ll hold Easton around 1:00pm (6:00am for USA Eastern Time)

I’ll have an update tomorrow night for sure!
Appreciative for all His blessings ,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today is the Day!!

I'm leaving!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry for the picture quality, my Nikon is packed!)

Talk about mixed emotions, I am smiling with excitement and then all of a sudden I'm scared to death and crying! Every time I think of holding Easton and meeting all the children my heart is happy. However, every time I think of saying goodbye to my husband, puppies, family and friends, for 2 months I am a sobbing mess! Please pray that I have strength and confidence and put all my Faith in the Lord. No FEAR allowed!!!!

Here's the plan, leave Tampa at 2:10, leave Philly at 6:25 and arrive in Frankfurt, Germany at 8:40am Saturday. Then leave Germany at 10:45am and arrive in Ethiopia at 6:25pm Saturday. Basically, a full day of traveling! (For any creeps out there, my hubby will be home and when he comes to Ethiopia someone will be staying at our house!)

I know that this journey would not be possible without the support of our family, friends, and adoption community! It has been an amazing journey so far and now the FUN begins!! =)

I'll be updated Facebook and the Blog as much as possible. You don't have to worry about me not taking pictures or posting, I'm kinda crazy about it! =)

A HUGE THANK YOU to the dozens of people who gave us items and cash donations!!! We have 7 bags all together and almost all of it is for the orphans. I am praying that the airline shows us mercy and allows the donation bags on the plane, free of charge!! If not, it will be over $450.00! OUCH!

I kindly ask for your continued prayers of protection and strength. The best things are yet to come!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We're in the NEWS!!!

The Bradenton Herald, our local paper, covered our journey to parenthood!
We are very pleased with the article and love the last line:
"Because the prayers worked before, they have faith they’ll work again."

Palmetto couple’s plan to adopt Ethiopian baby brings another surprise - Top Stories -

Thanks Bradenton Herald!!!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Donations for my trip!

Friends and Family,
Here is a way that you can help! I am collecting the following items in the next 4 days for my trip:
1. Diapers, any size

2. Scrubs for nannies- Size Small or Medium (New or gently used)

3. Hard Candy- suckers are best, dum dum's, tootsie pops

4. Toddler and children underwear

5. Lip gloss or Lip balm

6. Granola Bars/Protein Bars (No Chocolate=)

I am asking for a $5.00 cash donation with the items to help pay for the additional baggage fee. I am planning on having an extra suitcase filled with your donations, the extra bag fee is $150.00.

I would love to meet you to pick up your donation or you can deliver it to my home. I will need all donations by Wednesday, June 16th. Please email or text me if you are willing to help!

With Love,

I'm leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again....

The truth is I really don't know when I'll be back again! =) My mom and I leave on Friday, June 18th for Ethiopia!!! We will get there Saturday afternoon and I could potentially be holding Easton on Sunday. I wonder why I'm writing this post at 4:30am. The plan is for Mom to be with me for 2 weeks and then Ryan will come for our court date (still unknown, bummer). I will travel on July 19th to Uganda for my Mission Trip and then back to Ethiopia a week later. I need to be back in the US mid-to-late August for Prenatal care but ideally I would bring Easton home with me. We will continue to "Wait Upon the Lord" to see what His timeline is!

Please pray for our safe travels, a glorious "metcha day" with Easton, open arms from our agency's in-country staff, and opportunities to teach and love on as many children as possible. Also, please keep Ryan in your prayers. We have never been separated and honestly since the day we met, we have spoken everyday. Neither one of us really like to be alone and we know that being on opposite sides of the world will be very challenging. Luckily, technology has given us Skype, AIM, and an International Phone (unfortunately, it's $2.99/minute)

Find Me! Ways to stay in touch while I'm in Ethiopia:
Facebook: Ashlie McFarland Fulmer
Skype: ashlie.fulmer
AIM: Ryanashlie

I'll do my best to keep the blog updated, it'll all depend on the internet connection.
With Love,

Monday, June 7, 2010


RADICAL from David Platt on Vimeo.

A bloggy friend of mine has decided to move to Uganda and start her own ministry to meet the needs of the poor and afflicted. Her pastor, David Platt has started a movement called Radical. It is a serious call for all American Christians to give up the American Dream and pursue God's commandment to serve the "least of these". To win a free copy of the book please check out my bloggy friend, Christie's recent post.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Easton is going to be a BIG BROTHER!!! We're Pregnant!!!

Soooooo, our baby Easton in Ethiopia is going to be a BIG BROTHER!!!!!!!!! We are excited to announce that we are PREGNANT!!!! Our adoption agency has just approved us to complete the adoption and bring Easton Home! We will be a family of four by Christmas!!! GOD IS SOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!

It has been a very hard couple of weeks. We told our agency everything and prayed that they would show compassion and understanding toward us. We had to submit an Action Plan to prove that we were prepared for the responsibilities of two children. Here is an excerpt of the essay we submitted. (We obviously took it very seriously, fighting for our baby Easton!)

Our Transparency

"We cannot, for a second, pretend that we know exactly how things are going to work out for our family. What we can tell you is that we have put our hearts and souls into building our family. As Dr. Purvis from Empowered to Connect states, “We cannot have expectations. We must lay them down and only be fully committed to love our children, giving them everything we have selflessly.” This is exactly what we intend to do for our children. We have committed endless hours of paperwork, adoption training, bonding and attachment researching, our life’s savings and thoughtful planning for our son Easton Fulmer. We set out on this journey wanting to become parents, little did we know that God would pull us closer to him than ever, as we cling to his word and search our hearts for his guidance. We have trusted in the Lord for every step of our journey to parenthood. We are thankful that he has not made it easy but has shown us to trust in Him and put all of our faith in Him.

There have been many days of rejoicing and sadness through our journey. We are thankful for each emotion experienced, as we have grown closer to each other and the Lord. When we found out that Ashlie was pregnant we praised God for creating this miracle. After being told that the possibility of Ashlie conceiving naturally was very low we were shocked and surprised by God’s gracious gift to us. In addition to our happiness, we felt worry and fear. We were in love with Easton and knew that he was our son. We knew that we would have to fight to show that we are his parents and capable of caring for two children. We believe that God purposefully chose us to be in this exact situation, the parents of two children, 9 months apart.

We understand that every couple would not be able to handle this situation. However, we believe that our current situation is ideal to give a loving home to Easton and our biological baby. (We don’t have a name for him/her yet, but plan on giving him/her an Ethiopian middle name. All of the Fulmer’s are now Ethiopian!) We have an amazing support system ready and able to care for each and every member of our family. As we would do anything for our children, our parents are fully committed to sacrificing for us. They understand what it takes to raise children and they are ready to support us by any
means possible. We know that God orchestrated our family members living close to our home and their level of support of our adoption because he knew that we would need them throughout our journey. "

Well, that's it! We are going to be a family of 4!!!!! Now it's time to pack our bags and get to Easton as soon as possible!!!!
We'll keep you updated!!!

Thank you for your prayers and support!
Ashlie and Ryan