Thursday, March 31, 2011

Airport Arrival for Drew Moses!!

It was a Glorious homecoming!
Did I mention hiring Kristin was one of the best decisions we made in this whole process?? What a treasure her gift is.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig!!

After possibly the longest 48 hours of my entire life, we set foot in the Austin Airport to friends and family (pictures to come later) in what was the sweetest homecoming ever.

Drew slept for about 5 of the 28 hour trip... I also found out that size 3 diapers are completely insufficient. To all of you I hugged in the airport, I am sorry.

We ran into some drama with the embassy in Nairobi Monday afternoon (scheduled to fly out Monday night). The woman there was NOT going to process our visas that day. She had NO intention of doing it, siting some "child clearance that had not happened in the States" hmmm...not likely. With our sheer diplomacy (stubbornness and begging), but really mostly desperate prayer, she relented, and 2 hours later walked out with our completed Visa packet. It was truly a miracle, one of MANY over the course of the previous 3 weeks.
Drew and I had a very good few days alone in Nairobi, we went to the Nairobi museum, out to eat,  to visit Aliyah in the hospital, down to socialize with the hotel staff, and watched WAY too many Modern Family episodes for his tender age.  I had a fantastic "supplier"(of movies), Simon,  down on the street outside the hotel.

oh, it was a sweet time this morning.  Drew loved Lucy and Preston, finding them hilarious.  
Andy had the house spotless when we walked in last night!  It now looks like a bomb went off.  Drew was up and down in the night, but I had taken 2 Ambian and don't really remember it all.  Good thing for Andy! Jet lag nausea is setting in this afternoon.  So, I'll go.  Preston and Lucy are in LOVE!
So am I.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hitting a Snag

It has all been trucking along fairly well until this point.  There have been frustations and backwards steps these past two weeks, but ALL things considered, wonderful progress and going "according to schedule", whatever that is.  Our plan was to pick up our Visa tomorrow and leave for Texas tomorrow night.  We went for our second US Embassy appointment this morning, and we will not be traveling home until probably Tuesday night or Wednesday.  The Adam Walsh screen has held us up.  We knew that was a risk going into Nairobi. 
For future families: I think if you give yourselves a full two weeks in Kigali, you will be able to initiate the AWscreen earlier and it will be ready by the time you sit for your Embassy apt. in Nairobi, and can get through Nairobi in 5 working days.  We did not have what we needed, the travel letter and passport to initiate the AW earlier than we did, given that the Embassy in Kigali is only open Tues/Friday.

Andy and Caroline WILL be coming home tomorrow night.  The kids need them and I think it will be good to have one of us over jet lag and settled into the house/kids before I come home jet lagged/exhausted and with new baby. 
Caroline has grown and matured so much through this whole experience, I am so proud of her, but it is time for her to come HOME!! 
Also, Laura and I will stay together with the two babies and in our hotel that will take care of us. 

I will keep everyone posted when little Drew will make his debut, but it will NOT be Saturday night.  We know there is purpose in this disappointment, and I am so disappointed!  I am weary and want to come and see my babies and be in my house. now.  I don't want to stay in Nairobi for 5 more days without my husband.

However, we praise God that He has gone before us in every step until now, and is in this situation too, fulfilling His purposes, so for that we give thanks.
"For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 
His heart is steady;
he will not be afraid" 
Psalm 112: 6-7

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We headed out this morning about 6:30 to the Nairobi National Park.  I had no idea what to expect.  We had a driver with a van whose roof comes off and it was just the 4 of us for the day.  We had such a fun time together spotting animals and watching in awe.  This lion was the second we saw, close to the end of the day.  He was sleeping, so our driver decided to wake him up...  He drove the van right up to him, and up he popped!  I was actually a little frightened as the lion seemed to crouch as we got closer.  He was about 8 feet from the van.  He was absolutely beautiful.
Well, hello there, king of the jungle

There were giraffes everywhere, you could see them from so far off eating from a tree.  They seem so much larger than in the zoo.
Caroline had a blast spotting all the animals.
Water buffalo playing.
Am I black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
This pretty fellow supprised us, right next to the van!

We drive through the park two hours out, and then stoppd at a little "station" where we were told to get out to go see the crocs and hippos.  On foot.  For a mile...
hmmm...I was not so sure about this, but the guy with the gun assured us it would be great fun.  I stayed close to him. 

Alas, the hippos were sleeping underwater, and only a huge croc we could see the eyes of, but look at this beauty we stumbled onto.  There were monkeys everywhere too and beautiful birds.
We stopped at a market afterwards, where this lovely Masai tribesman worked as the "security guard".  I didn't know that the Masai tribe still was in existence (or maybe I really never knew of their existence), and are still nomads.  He guards with a very sharp sword, and the spear Caroline is holding. 

We rested this afternoon, and swam in the pool, during regular pool hours, but still during the businessmen's cocktail time.  I don't have my suit here, but, Caroline made a 60 year old lady friend who played lots of games with her in the pool, lap races and wore her out. 
Tonight, she lost the tooth she has been talking about for 3 months, so that was nice.  Apparently, "Ms. Natalie (Green) says in Africa, when children lose their teeth, a 'tooth rat' comes and leaves money"  She is very excited about the tooth rat coming tonight.  I much prefer a fairy!
Goodnight.  Love~Emily

Monday, March 21, 2011

You've come a long way, Baby!

Here we are in Nairobi. Different digs than the orphanage for sure.
We had our medical appointment today, which I am happy to report went smooth, especially given that they told us they had nothing available all week. We showed up anyways and just asked to be added to the patient list. We arrived about 7:45 and were done by noon. It was fun to talk to many families attempting to immigrate to the US, great stories! I brought crayons, markers and paper. We had to wait a while for each stage, so I brought it out for all the kids and there were about 10 kids around a table happy for some sort of something to do!
According to the Doctor, Drew is a "confident, strong boy", I think that is code for "well fed". There were no issues that alerted her.

We came back to the hotel to nap and Drew cried for a good 3 hours straight :(
Then we went to the "mall" down the street. We had to get formula, water and red wine.  Cover our bases.

We came back to the hotel, swanky by our standards, where we had promised Caroline she could swim in the rooftop pool. Now was her big chance, all that pent up energy. We went up and it seemed to be "serious" Kenyan businessmen's cocktail hour around the pool area. I couldn't deny her, so in she dove. She put on quite the mermaid extravaganza (quietly) much to their eventual entertainment. Then Andy came up with delivered pizza. Who brought in the Texas Hilbillies?
Everyone here in Nairobi has been wonderful. HUGE city, traffic like Houston. We are off to the Nairobi National Park tomorrow and hope to see some big animals. Our embassy appointments are Wednesday and Thursday, hope to pick up Visa Friday and head back to Texas Friday night. We sure miss everyone, especially our two little ones, Lucy and Preston!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Paper Chase Slide Show

Monday and Tuesday involved LOTS of hurrying up to wait. We went back to the court to the 7 foot judge who was very kind and wants us to email him the picture of him :) There were many issues with the court ruling, and we had to have it redone about 4 times. We had to go to the notary's office, twice, and went to the MGEPROF office to write letters to request the travel letter. Tuesday we went bright and early to the immigration office, where we were turned away by the officer b/c he said our act of adoption handwriting looked like we changed the name. So, we had to find our POA, Peter, to get the original act of adoption, go back to the sector and have it re-stamped and fly back Mission Impossible style to immigration before it closed at 11. We made it in time and then I waited in the car with Drew for the next hour and a half so Andy could turn in the papers :)
Tuesday we were all set to pick up the travel letter and be able to keep him with us from then on. He had a cute little onesie on with his name on it and he went for a haircut! We went to the MTN center where they had a "salon". His hair was nice and fluffy, but splotchy!! Lots of time laying on his back turning his head side to side in the orphanage... Now it's gone but will grow in even. Steven, our driver, from Africa New Life, says he doesn't like it :)
All that to say that we were set to be done with the orphanage and have him leave with us forever, when we got a call that the minister would not be coming back and we would have to leave him there... A VERY sad night laying him back down in his old crib that they had to shuffle a baby out of. Everyone was crying and it was dark and raining. He started screaming when I had to leave him.

On the bright side, the next day, we got the travel form and he was able to say goodbye to the nuns who had cared for him since he was found at one month old and brought to them. I will forever be indebited to them and their faithful service and sacrifice.

Steven, our driver, has been wonderful. I don't know what we would do without him. He picks us up every morning and drives all over the hills of Kigali laughing hesitantly at our jokes and cutting up, the patience of Job, that man. We've learned a lot about Rwandan culture and asked him way too many questions about his personal life :) He has been a great friend to Caroline too.

Friday, we got our I600 (the golden ticket out of Rwanda) at the US Embassy , which was a suprisingly easy process after much build up and stress. We leave tomorrow for Nairobi. I will be sad to leave! The FOOD, friendly people, beauty and sweet families we have been with.

I am sitting here watching Caroline play soccar with the day-guard, Butro, at the Mears house. She has done amazingly well after a couple rough days, I am really proud of her. She has learned how to bargain at the market, interact and make friends with people who don't speak her language, eagerly eat foreign foods, show compassion at a deep level, be patient with LONG waits and survive jetlag well.
I think this will prove to be a pivotal experience for her.
That's all for now, I'll say "hello" from Nairobi tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A new day!

Thank you for your prayers and emails today, they are so encouraging. After a couple frustrating and intense days, we were able to obtain the fully signed travel letter and took everything to the nuns. They took our papers and told us we could take the children away. They were thrilled to see them go to families, their countenance totally changed toward us after a couple days. It was a sweet day.

We did get a full tour of the orphanage. In the baby room there are 16 babies, the cribs are very short with matresses much shorter, which leaves a gap of about 8 inches. Caroline and I were able to go around to each crib, lay hands on the baby and pray over him/her. We prayed for protection, healing, and blessing. Also, that he would prepare them and all of you families who are adopting. Most of the babies will be adopted this year!! We saw the older toddler room/dormitory with about 30 tiny cribs. It is pretty chaotic! There is an outdoor washing area with about 15 big basins with water, and clotheslines. There are hundreds of cloth diapers to scrub. There are young women the nuns have taken in who work at the orphanage. They are the poorest of the poor and have nowhere else to go. They have no education and no family. The nuns love them and care for them. There is also a mentally handicapped wing for adults. That was hard, but love knowing that they, too, are cared for.

We got Drew home and sat with him outside, played with him on the floor and bed. He is eating really well, avacado and banana, a Schulz already. I can't believe how he has lit up, smiling, and clapping, kicking, rolling over, even sitting up a little on his own. MAJOR strides! Last week, he was so floppy, he barely moved the lower half of his body. Head very wobbly and no rolling over or sitting up. He was really zoned out, we were wondering what was going on up there... He is no so engaging and smiley. We scrubbed him down in the bath, got him ready for bed, and put him down in the pack in play for bed. He konked out immediately!! I was shocked. He may not stay that way overnight, but it is good for now. The Choys are here, Drew and Alyah are having their first play date :) We are babysitting for the Mear's kids and they are out.
Tomorrow, we get to rest a little, back to immigration, and we may even be able to go to the genocide memorial (not with Caroline). Maybe a "girls market day" that Caroline has been clammoring for.
The mood is much lighter and more fun. I've tried the sling, and Holly, I need some help!
We were able to chat with Lucy and Preston, they were at the Dallas Zoo with Nana and Grampa, and Aunt Marian, and cousin Austin. They sounded great! Having a fun spring break.

We were SO sad to see Kristin go home last night, we will really miss her companionship. We had such a great time together and she provided much comedic relief! Her pictures have been such a blessing to us, and I know for so many of you it helps to have tangible proof of where YOU will be in a few months. She has such a ministry through adoption photography, and such a pure heart. Kristin has one more slide show to post, but you will have to put up with my photos from here on out. That is it for now, so nice to have Drew sleeping with us!! Orphan no more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday in Africa

Back to Africa New Life for church.  We went to the "English" service, which was joyful. However, Steven, our driver assured us that there was much more dancing at the 11oclock service. We were brought up to the front of the service to introduce us and asked Andy to "share a word".  which he did.  Between the judge gig and the preacher gig, he may want to move here for the opportunity :)
We LOVED that Pastor Charles gave the congregation a charge to adopt and went on for 5 minutes about the beauty of adoption, encouraging them to do so locally. 
We took Drew home to nap and gave him his first bath which was hilarious! 
After dropping Drew off,  we went to Zen "Oriental" restaurant.  Highly Recommend!!  All the kids ran around by the water fountain, we sat under the thatched roof tents and had cocktails and great food.  We are really roughing it here in Africa.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Field Trip!

Saturday was such a fun day!!  We picked up Drew, this was our first time to take him off the orphanage grounds.  He rode with us, possibly his first car ride ever.  We went to African Bagel Company, a beautiful home and grounds filled with ex-pats eating bagels and coffee.  ABC is run by Robin and Rich Smith where they serve amazing food (doughnuts).  Robin disciples the women who work there and teaches them life skills.

We then went to Africa New Life where Saturday was sponsored child day.  We have a couple sponsored kids, Jessica and Frank, that we got to meet and spend time with.  That was SUCH a highlight.  They seem to be doing really well and I was encouraged to see the tangible work ANLM is doing on the ground.  We were able to bring them a few gifts and hug them and play with all the kids.  Caroline was a hoot!  She was surrounded by a zillion kids all wanting to ask her name, touch her hair and skin and stare at her.  She LOVED it, all smiles.  She loved meeting them and talking to them (but most speak Kynrwandaan)  She was clearly a glowing white contrast to all the color! 
Drew did great in the Ergo on Andy's back and slept the whole time we were there. 
Andy was able to see Emmanuel, a 19 year old he met last year at ANLM and was able to sponsor this year through truck-driving school.  He has done so well on his exams and now just has to pass the practical.  He is so tender and I was thrilled to get to meet him after a year of hearing about him from Andy.

We came back to the house for naps and were able to get Drew on his belly and in a home.  He really came alive!!  We were thrilled to see him interact so well relationally and physically to be so active, clapping his hands and feet and cooing. 
The Mears had some friends over for dinner, Jennifer and Dano Jakanovich.  They have adopted 3, one from Rwanda, they are here with an NGO, and she volunteers at Home of Hope every Wednesday.  She has an abundance of experience so I picked Jennifer's brain for three hours.

That is about all the news of note, it was a very fun and busy day.  I'm sure Drew slept hard!!  More stimulation than he may have had in his entire 9 month little life!!  Enjoy the pictures~~ love~~ Emily

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Every good and perfect gift...

Today was our 11 year anniversary! We had NO idea when we married we would end up on this journey. The Lord has been so good to lead us to our 4th child in this way, and on this day.
I married a good man.

We went to see Drew at the orphanage, he was pretty sleepy! We only were able to spend time on the porch with him, but one of the sisters brought us into the baby room, to see where he has been the last 8.5 months. The Longhorn jersey, I put on Drew today, my father bought for me when he came to visit UT before we moved to Austin, 35 years ago. Each of my kids have worn it and it's fun to see Drew sporting our burnt orange, and with his size, he may be wearing lots more burnt orange :)

The sisters are incredible women! They work unbelievably hard. I am officially a wimp, as has been inferred to me that all American women are :) Rwandaan women are amazing, working all day with baby #5 strapped to their backs.

So, we went to Court with our attorney, Power of Attorney and the Choys. The judge was 7 feet tall. Our attorney, Fidele, was great and looked very snazzy in his robe! Andy got to play lawyer in the court, and thought he was pretty snazzy too! We went to Bourbon Coffee. again.
We went back to the orphanage to visit again where we were able to leave Drew in his crib. That was VERY hard. He cried, and I cried, I take comfort in knowing that he will soon be with us.

We had an amazing meal for dinner. Evelyn, the Mear's house helper cooked a full meal for us that was traditional Rwandaan food. Caroline is doing great! Today was a VERY long day for her and she was thrilled to be back at the house with her new best friends. We had movie night and everyone slept very well! Thank you all for the encouraging emails and comments, we love to know you all are with us in this!
Enjoy this snapshot of our day with Drew!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We met him!!!

Good morning!!

We met little Drew Moses this morning. He is a doll! We've got a linebacker on our hands. He was so snuggly and fell asleep in my arms. Big eyes, not so much smiling yet. He'll warm up to us yet. Unfortunately, we could only visit him today and not take him out with us.  Please pray for a miracle that we would be able to keep him this weekend.  He actually started frowning and turned away from the nun when she came to take him away from me. The only time he frowned :) He took to us very easily and Caroline got lots of holding time in.

Kristin took a ton of pictures, they'll be on the blog when she can upload them.  We are SO thankful to have her here with us!! I can't wait to see her pictures.

The meeting was such a sweet time!! We got to feed him his food, it looked like oatmeal. (Very thick). Loves to eat. He is definately going to need some physical therapy! He really can't sit up on his own and is pretty chunky, but won't weight bear on his legs at all. I need to get him in my care and really assess where he is developmentally.  The nuns were very sweet and clearly knew him well, all calling him "Franc". I guess he came with the name Moises, but they had too many already, so they re-named him Francis? They were so joyful to meet us and know he was going to a family who wanted him and loved him already. We are going back to the orphanage to visit him again in about an hour.

Traveling was smooth but very long.  Apparently, even Ambian can't make me sleep on a plane.  Caroline only slept about 2 hours the entire 28 hour trip! She was such a trooper, but, completely delirious, almost drunk acting, it was pretty funny!  She's back asleep now.  We are staying with a sweet family, Lane and Anna Mears.  Andy worked with Lane this fall in Austin, and he now works as an attorney for International Justice Mission in Kigali.  I actually knew Anna from my A&M days.  They are incredible hosts!!  The house is just beautiful and they have 3 kids exactly the same ages as ours, so Caroline is really enjoying that.

BUT, all our bags made it and we had no delays.
Thank you all for praying so much, thank you for your texts and emails, we are feeling very covered, keep it up! 
we'll keep you updated. Cute pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day,
you're off to great places,
you're off and away"

We're off!!  Keep you posted, look for pics Thursday night

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Lefties

Please pray for me as I leave my precious "lefties" behind. (both left handed)
I am feeling anxious and fearful, all of a sudden, about leaving them for almost 3 weeks. They will be in very loving and capable hands, but still, we are not a family that is split up. ever.
Lucy was very emotional and crying most of the day yesterday.
I am having the kids memorize Joshua 1:9-
"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid and do not be dismayed for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."