Monday, December 20, 2010

We have had a great weekend.   Yonas and Yosef went into their classes at church by themselves this week.  They had a really good time.  It was so nice to see them smiling and sitting with all the other kids.  I thought it would be harder on them than it was.  They hugged us and said bye-bye...When we picked them up, Yosef colored a paper and made a craft.  He was so proud of them.  They were all smiles.  Such a blessing.

Friday night we were invited to our friend's home, Greg and Linda Heitzman.  We decorated gingerbread houses and had dinner.  The kids loved every minute of it.  They finished up the night cuddling up on the couch watching a movie.  I am so thankful to have friends that have embraced our new family size.  It was nice to be able to get out with them, and it gave us a chance to teach them a little bit more about their boundaries.  I think that for the most part, they did pretty good.  Here are some pictures from our night.

Getting ready to begin

The finished product

Gracie's favorite part of the night

More pictures

I had to post this picture of the kids watching a workout video.  They were all working hard!

Their first doctor's appointment.  They loved getting a chance to use the stethoscope.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Home at Last

We have been home for 2 weeks, and the days are flying by!  I have enjoyed taking a break from most of the busyness that comes during the Christmas season to just love on family.  It has been so much fun to see Yonas and Yosef mold into our family.  They are adjusting well.  Each day they seem to relax a little more and are becoming acquainted with our routine.

It is hard to believe that it was a year ago when Vince and I made the decision to finally pursue adoption.  I couldn't have possibly imagined all that God had in store for us when we began this journey.  Our faith has been strengthened.  God has brought people into our lives that have been there for us, not only financially but emotionally as well.  God has provided the way.  I firmly believe that his mighty hand was all over this adoption.  Every last detail.  I am forever grateful to those of you who have stood by us, cheered us on, and provided the help that we needed to finish this journey. 

We now enter a whole new season in our home.  It is such an exciting time.  Having boys in the house has been very different for us.  Abby and Gracie are realizing just how different boys and girls are.  They get up in the morning ready to go.  They rarely stop and take a break throughout the day.   I am impressed with how patient and caring Abby and Gracie are with them.  This hasn't been as "easy" as they thought it would be, but they are the best big sisters.  They have taught them so much and help them daily with their English.  I enjoy watching them play together. 

As I sit here writing, I have to take a moment to realize that this is my life.  Yes, God has given me 4 beautiful children to train up in the way of the Lord.  I don't take that responsibility lightly, and I know that Vince and I will live our life in service for the One who gave his life for us.  We look forward to the next path He chooses for us.

I will someday get around to writing about our second trip to Ethiopia.  I tried to write about it with this post, but I guess my emotions are too raw.  I just couldn't seem to get words down without bawling.  I have to say it was an amazing week, and I already miss so many things about Ethiopia.  Vince and I look forward to the day we can return. 

I'll leave you with some pictures from the past week

Play dough is a big hit

Decorating for Christmas

Yosef found a new use for our stockings...Ha!

My beautiful girls


Bananas are a necessity in our home

Movie time

Arts and crafts

They love kissing baby Jesus

Look at those beautiful smiles

Merry Christmas from the Monks Family!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Embassy-December 1st

We just got the call!  We will be Ethiopia bound on Saturday!  Woo hoo!!!  I am thrilled beyond words.  In just one week, Yonas and Yosef will be in our arms, and we will be ready to bring them home.  After I got off the phone with Lesley (from our agency), I had a good cry.  It felt so good to be crying tears of joy:)  If that makes any sense.  God worked in this process because Lesley said normally after passing embassy, you wouldn't normally travel for 2-3 weeks.  They allowed us to have the December 1st date partly because we already have our flights booked.  Isn't God amazing!

We will be coming home Friday, December 3rd at 6:25pm  if anyone is interested in coming to the airport.  We would love to see you!

Thank you for your prayers!


We still have not heard a confirmation that we will be traveling Saturday.  Today should be the day!  I am praying that it all works out, but I also trust that God's timing is perfect.  The hardest part is knowing that Yonas and Yosef are waiting for us.  Praying that God would prepare them and help them to understand the wait.  Our West Sands host, Woudneh has been wonderful.  He told us that they are doing great.  They have asked about us and when we would be there to get them.  It made me so happy to know they were anticipating our arrival. 

Our pancake breakfast was a huge success!  Thank you for supporting us.  It was such a fun time.  Thank you to those of you who helped us that morning.  You know who you are!  We couldn't have done it without you.  Vince and I loved seeing so many family and friends in one place and catching up with friends we haven't seen for years.  God has truly blessed us with so much love and encouragement.  It brings me to tears when I stop to think about it.

Below are some school pictures.  I am a little late in posting but enjoy!

Abby & Gracie's "Gallon Girl"

Field trip to Gallrein Farms

Look at those nice pumpkins and of course cute kiddos!

Feeding the animals

The whole gang 

Completed the corn maze

Abby's wig for our Moses play

Working hard

Nature Walk at Cherokee Park

The best of friends

Thinking a lot about these little guys.  Can't wait for us all to be together. Very soon...

I'll update later today when I find out anything.


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have been in a little bit of a blogging rut for the past week or two.  I don't know what is wrong with me.  I have so much I could be writing about but can't seem to get my thoughts down.  Since I have a little bit of new info on our next trip, I thought today would be a good time to try to get out of my slump. 

Yesterday I got a call from our agency.  It looks like our tentative embassy date is December 1st.  Tentative being the key word.  We should know by next week if that date is a sure thing.  We decided to go ahead and book our plane tickets because of the holidays.   The travel agent said the domestic flights fill up fast, and she advised us to go ahead and get them reserved.  We're praying that this all works out.  We will be leaving Saturday, the 27th out of Cincinnati and will return in Louisville December 3rd.  We are thrilled in knowing that Yonas and Yosef will be home very soon, maybe even by this time next month!

This month is Adoption Awareness Month.  I have been wanting to write a little about my feelings on adoption and the call of Christians to reach out and help the orphans of the world.  Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone can do something.  This year has definitely changed my heart and given me a desire to do more.  More than just adopt two beautiful boys.  My friend Natalie has written some awesome posts about this topic.  I encourage you to head on over to her blog to read more . 

This Saturday is our Pancake Breakfast.  It is our last official fundraiser, and we are excited about seeing all of our family and friends.  It is not too late to come.  You can get your tickets at the door.  We are humbled by your support and encouragement. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ethiopia-Days 3 & 4

Wednesday morning was our court appointment.  Woudneh had told us he wanted to leave early so that we could get right in and not have to wait a long time.  We were all anxious to get it over with.  Up until that morning, I hadn't allowed myself to think about not passing.  My nervousness was really from not knowing what to expect.  I also knew this would decide if we could move on the next step of getting an embassy appointment.  When we arrived, we went into this small building and rode the elevator to the third floor.  We walked into the room, and it was already full of adoptive couples waiting.  We thought we would be there a long time waiting but it went by quickly.  The clerk began calling out names for people to go in to see the judge.  We just sat there watching them come out one at a time.  We noticed that they all came out smiling and celebrating.  I was thinking, okay hopefully they don't give out only so many "passes" a day.  J/K  We also sat there watching birth mothers come in to give up their rights.  Wow, I had a hard time holding in all my tears.  If any of you know me well, you know I cry a lot.  Sad, happy, angry, nervous...It doesn't take much to get me going.
We were the last couple to be called from our group.  The Crums and the Veals both received good news, and the clerk came out and called for us.  The judge was very young and pretty.  She asked us to sit and she began asking us some questions.  She had a very gentle tone and smiled.  I had already decided that I was going to let Vince answer for us.  I was too afraid that once I began to speak, I would begin crying and not be able to stop.  She asked us how many biological children we have and if they are happy about us adopting.  She also asked if we had studied the Ethiopian culture and had the necessary training.  She also asked if we had met our sons.  After answering everything, she looked at us and smiled and said "Congratulations, they are yours"!  It was such a relief!  I immediately began to cry.   Such a joyous time!  We knew at that point that  Yonas and Yosef were officially our children. 

The front of the building

Not a very good picture, but we were giving the thumbs up!
Ready to celebrate

We spent all day Wednesday driving all over Addis and was able to see some amazing things.   Woudneh was a wonderful host.  We had an amazing time with him.  Here are some pictures of our day.

Addis University

This was a Christian Orthodox church at the top of a mountain.  It is over 150 years old.  I didn't get any good pictures from the inside, but it was beautiful.  All of the walls were hand painted with pictures from stories and people of  the Bible.  We had a tour guide that led us through the church and explained a lot of the history.

Vince taking his turn at playing the drums in the church.  This was our tour guide along with Eric.  He led us in a time of singing and chants and let us play the instruments. 

We ate lunch at the Sheraton Hotel.  It was very nice!

The food was really good

Ethiopia's take on Starbucks

I don't have any pictures of our shopping that day, but we all enjoyed it.  Woudneh knows exactly where to go and helped us with prices dealing with all the people on the street.  It is difficult to have people come up to you asking for money knowing that you cannot give them anything.  Woudneh told us that our driver could be ticketed if any of us were to give money.  It is also not the best thing to do because you will be swarmed with people once they see you give something.  I never felt unsafe just sad really.  Especially when you see mothers with their children. 

That evening we went to Woudneh's home for dinner.  We got to spend time with his wife and children.  Oh, how we fell in love with them.  It was such a special time.  I wish I had pictures, but our camera battery decided to give out earlier in the day. 

Thursday we were able to spend more time shopping while the Crums and the Veals went back to their orphanage.  Woudneh took us around.   At one point while we were waiting for Woudneh we went to a cafe called Frullato's.  It was fun to sit in there and listen to everyone around us talking, not having a clue as to what they were saying.  Hopefully they weren't talking about us!

Later that afternoon, we visited a dentist who is a friend of Woudneh's.  His family happened to be there for an appointment, so we did get some pictures.  Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of his wife.

This was our group with our driver, Yonas.  I loved driving around Addis.  The following is something I wrote in my journal while riding with him.

"Our driver has been wonderful!  He is a very good driver and a bit stubborn.  We found that he does not back down.  It is thrilling to ride around cars and cutting out in front of traffic.  Everyone here uses their horn to let you know they are coming.  That means you better watch out!  They don't really follow traffic laws, but we did see someone getting a ticket today."

We went back to our hotel to spend some down time before leaving.  We enjoyed  coffee and having some time to sit down and talk with Woudneh.  We were sad to see our time come to an end, but I was so ready to get home to Abby and Gracie!

This is Daniel, one of our servers at our hotel.  Vince spent a good amount of time getting to know him.  We have been keeping in touch.  Hopefully we will be able to see him when we go back.  We invited him to come stay with us if he ever makes it to the US. 

Finally on our way home.