Thank you so much Michael Gowin, Tyler and Lori for the great pictures!
Together again in Ethiopia

Big brother and other fans waiting in the airport.

Our big entrance.

Meeting River.
He is showing her the sign that he made that says, "Sissy I love you." He has always wanted us to name her, "Sissy I love you Temar Wade"
My favorite picture. Look at River's proud face!
Meeting Little Mamaw Shirley.

A reunion with the old transition home buddies.
The Coopers with Aerie and the Simons with Soloman.

Tyler isn't sure why he's even at the airport.

At home.  At last.
There is so much that I could say, but it will all have to wait, because right now we are just enjoying our first days together!
Our work here is done.  We've visited seven orphanages/children's homes in the past three days.  Every dolly found a child.  Every crib toy and mobile found a crib.  If even one child in Addis is comforted by their dolly tonight, it was worth the effort.  Thank you all so much for making these treasures and allowing us, and those traveling with us, to have the honor of delivering them and the joy of seeing the smiles on their faces.

We wouldn't have kept this pace if she hadn't been doing so well and keeping right up with us, but I think we are all three pretty tired now and ready to get home.  Ready to get home and rest together as a family of four.

Tomorrow morning we leave Addis at 10 am.  (I think that is 2 am at home.)  We fly straight to Frankfurt, no stopping in Sudan this time (yay!).  And then we have a short flight to Amsterdam where we are spending the night.  It's going to be a shock to all three of us to go straight from Yebsabi to a Sheraton!  Nothing against Yebsabi... 

And finally... here is Logan's new favorite video.  
Our first days together have been better than we ever could have imagined. We still can't believe we're even here.  A week ago today, we were at VBS pouting and trying not to cry in public.  Now we're here.  We're together and it feels like she's always been with us.

We've learned so much about her already.  We came here prepared for the worst... tantrums, fear, sleepless nights... but we've had a surprisingly easy time.  She's eating well, sleeping all night long, and when we need to go somewhere she's happy in the Ergo carrier.  

Today we said goodbye to the transition home and the older children that we have gotten so close to.  Luke, Levi, Zahria, Kieran all got hugged and kissed and then watched me cry like a fool.  Tomorrow we're visiting Mahder, Amelework, Eyob and Yohannes from the His Little Feet tour.  We've heard they're having a hard time with their return to Ethiopia after nine months in America and we're hoping a familiar American face might help.

We said goodbye to two nannies who loved Temar very much.  We got pictures with them and hugged them and told them thank you.  But how can you really thank someone for loving your child in your absence?  For caring more than they had to.  We owe Temar's easy transition to those women and the love they've given her these seven months she was with them.  

There is so much that I could say, but I don't have the words to capture these few days in one blog post.  It has been a lot more emotional than we expected.  All of the hellos, and firsts, and the newness of it all.  And at the same time goodbyes, and last times, and sadness knowing that we won't be back here for a while. 

But we miss River and we're ready to get home and start our life as a family of four.  We can not wait to see everyone.  We'll be coming into the Indianapolis airport at 6:40 pm on Sunday, July 29th.  (My birthday!)  And everyone is welcome to come and welcome her home!  
Today- after our Embassy appointment. We actually met Evan Elliott the awesome guy who let us be submitted two days early and who cleared us last Friday. He is our hero!
We discovered yesterday afternoon that she can pull-up to stand.
Daddy does headbands now.
We don't even know what to say.  Today has exceeded every expectation.  

She is a little bit nervous, but she has been wonderful.  She's eaten well.  She's slept well.  She smiled and played through her bath.  She has been absolutely precious.  

We can't believe that we're here and that she is with us.  We've had a lot of, "Is this really happening?" moments.  We are so happy to be here and so thankful to have her at arms reach.
Tomorrow we're going to the government orphanage with two suitcases of donations and two giant bags of dollies.  Then we're going to check out Bring Love In in person.  I can't wait to see what they are doing there.  We're just going to strap Temar to us and she'll be along for the ride.  
We had three years to work on getting her here.  And 48 hours to prepare to have her here.  It has been a whirlwind of excitement.

There have been a lot of big moments since yesterday.  Moments that we had been expecting since we started talking about adoption... but now that they are here they are no less surprising.  Here are a few random things I wanted to share before we left...

  • Last night we bought formula and wipes and baby food for the first time in years.  Standing there looking at the baby food aisle we realized that none of these flavors are going to be familiar to her.  None of these even look like anything she's used to eating.  I said to Logan, "Let's not buy meats.  We don't know if she's had meat!"  It feels like we're having a newborn, but that newborn is nine months old.

  • In these three years we have gotten so wrapped up in other families adoptions.  We've read their blogs, talked to them on our yahoogroups and recently followed them on Facebook.  I have prayed for, cried for, and jumped up and down screaming with excitement for families I never have and probably never will meet.  I burnt something on the stove when the Marquez family finally got Kaleb home.  I bawled and bawled when the Kulps finally got their referral.  We prayed and prayed for the Sorensons.  Once we were cleared yesterday, emails and messages started pouring in from women all of the place, "I've been crying tears of joy!"  "We've been praying every night!"  It's awesome, just truly awesome, to know that there are people who were as wrapped up in our adoption as we have been in theirs.  This adoption community is an amazing thing.  I am so, so, so grateful that we get to be a part of this group.  Thank you for sharing in our joy and allowing us to share in yours.

  • We have an overnight layover on the 28th.  So I'll wake up on my 31st birthday in a hotel in Amsterdam with my husband and baby.  Logan is trying to take credit for planning it all this way.  As if he knew in 2009 that if we started our adoption in February I could have this fantastic birthday.  He's just that good.

  • Our house has been like a party today.  People coming and going, dropping off donations.  Our phones have been ringing all day.  After all of these weeks of being sad at home, it's good to see our house alive and happy.

Tomorrow we'll be dropping River at Meme's in the morning.  Then we'll fly out of Indianapolis at 10:30 a.m.  Our flights are kind of tricky this time, so please pray for us that we don't have any problems tomorrow and for safe travel.  We'll get to Addis at 9:50 p.m. on Monday (their time).  We will pick her up first thing Tuesday morning.  

Our next post will be from Ethiopia!  We are also on Facebook now, so if you aren't already our friend, we're Our Ethiopian Daughter.  

"If we're cleared, then PRAISE THE LORD we'll be on a plane immediately to pick up our girl.  But trust me when I say, our case will not be cleared at this point without anything short of a miracle from God, Himself."

It is officially a miracle.  We got the email at 3:59 a.m. that we were cleared.  We can pick her up and bring her home!  We are in shock.  

We've been awake since 4 a.m. and slowly through the day it is sinking in.  We are leaving Sunday morning (tomorrow, by the time most of you read this) at 10:30 a.m.  

Today has been surreal.  Just amazing.  

There is so much that I want to say.  So much that I want to tell everyone, but I am exhausted and my mind is racing in so many directions I can't think of anything coherent to say.  

We are just so overwhelmingly thankful.  So many people have told us today that they have been praying for us, especially last night.  I would love to know just how many people were really praying of us.  Because it made a difference.  Thank you all so very much!

Every morning we wake up hopeful that we've gotten an email from the US Embassy.  The email could say we are cleared to pick up our daughter.  It could say that they would like to interview her great-aunt.  Or it could say a number of other things that we can't anticipate.

Every night we go to bed hopeful that tomorrow will be THE day.  The day we finally know what the final step will be.  And every morning we wake to.... nothing.

No news.  No email.  Nothing.  

So we're miserable.  All day.  And then we go to bed hopeful again.

And wake up to... nothing.

And in between we're going to work and VBS and talking to friends and trying to live.  

It's hard though.  To live here, when our hearts are there.

So we're coming up with a plan.  A little strategy to take control of the small pieces we can control.  The day that we finally get this email from the Embassy we will be able to make our final decision.  

If we're cleared, then PRAISE THE LORD we'll be on a plane immediately to pick up our girl.  But trust me when I say, our case will not be cleared at this point without anything short of a miracle from God, Himself.  

If the email says that they have scheduled an interview with her great-aunt Aberash and the interview is a more than a week away, then we will book plane tickets to arrive in Ethiopia before her interview.  That way we can be there to see Aberash again and we can be together in Ethiopia with our daughter.  And... we will take River with us.

The US Embassy could have another plan.  Something we can't predict.  And if that is the case we'll deal with it when the time comes.  

Please pray with us that we are either cleared or they have scheduled an interview with Aberash.  Please pray that we get that email tomorrow morning.  

Friday will be six months since the day we received our referral.  Three months since the day we passed court.  Almost 29 months since we were accepted into the AWAA Ethiopia program.  As far as we know, there has only ever been one other AWAA family who has been in the program longer than we have.  We have broken the record.  

Please pray for us that it is over soon.  People in the government and people at our agency have made mistakes and have slowed us down.  Only God can finish this for us quickly.  Please pray that He has mercy on us and ends this now.  
We counted 204 dollies made from friends, family and church members here and many other folks from around the country.  We were able to squish them all down with a space bag and fit them in one suitcase.  It kind of looks like a crime scene.  
Then we counted 214 crib toys. 
It amazes me that 214 of these things were made after one crazy sketch I drew on the flight home.  I would have never dreamed anyone would even try it.  I mean, what do I know about toy design?  But these things are awesome.  And for the record... I never made a single one myself.
We have tons of crib mobiles and reversible dresses and floor playmat quilts.  
Since May, every corner of our house has accumulated donations.  Our living room has been sewing headquarters.  Bags of dolls, boxes of scrubs, baskets of cloth diapers are everywhere.  At first, they helped me to remember that we were going back soon and it was comforting.  But lately, it's a constant reminder that it's been three months.  

I can't take it any more.  This weekend I'm determined to get our bags packed, ship off our extra donations to other families who can pack them too, clean up and get ready for her to come home.  I just need for things to be ready. 

Even if they sit there like that, bags packed, for weeks.  I just can't continue to look at things the way they've been.  Something has to change.  We need to feel like we're doing something, that there is hope, that this will end soon.
This little sweetie-pie appeared on the AWAA Waiting Child List one day, and I think just about every family who saw him, called about him.  Including us.  

The Krohn family was chosen to be his and they traveled for court shortly after we did.  They've been submitted to the embassy now, and hopefully we'll meet in Ethiopia when we're both picking up our kids.  

We were able to meet Nahome when we visited the Transition Home.  He is every bit as cute as he looks in his pictures.  But what surprised us was the number of other 4 - 6 year old boys there that were equally adorable!  It doesn't seem like our agency gives many referrals for that age range, so I'm not sure what is going on with all of those cute boys, but they are there.  And they all need families.

This week Nahomes family is the Give1Save1.com family of the week.  So pop on over there and donate a dollar to help them bring this cutie home.  
If you were surprised to hear that we once inquired about a five-year-old boy, don't be.  Being as tightly wrapped up in adoption as we are right now, we see waiting child lists all of the time.  And it's hard not to fall in love with a child every now and then.  Even if it doesn't always make sense.  

We feel like God has put several older and special needs children on our hearts, but the door always closes.  One of these days, maybe the door will open and it will never close.  But for today, we just want to get Temar home and let her be our baby for a while.

Maybe there is an older or special needs child out there for your family?  Here's are of some of my favorite waiting child lists.  

Reece's Rainbow - Down Syndrome and HIV+ Children
London is HIV+.

Hope for Orphans

Adopt US Kids - American Children

Project Hopeful - HIV+ Children Worldwide

Urgent Need for a Family!
This little guy in grey, Porter, is in urgent need of a family, RIGHT NOW.  Please feel free to pass his story on.  He needs help.  You can read about him here: http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/crying-out-for-porter.html
We really were!!  We got the email at 7:06 a.m.  The case of "Wade, Teemar Logan" was finally submitted to the US Embassy!  

Now we wait for their response.  They will most likely ask for Aberash to travel back to Addis for an interview.  (Last time she interviewed with the Ethiopian Court.  This time will be for the US Embassy.)

Hopefully, her testimony will be enough and we would be cleared to pick up Willow immediately.  

We need prayers that we hear a response from the Embassy soon.  We think they have ten days to respond with what they want to do next (i.e. interview Aberash)... but we're praying they won't take ten days.  We want to know now!  

So the best case scenario: We hear from the US Embassy this week that they want to interview Aberash next week (week of July 16th) or the next week (week of July 23rd) and for us to be cleared on the day of the interview.  Then we could get on a plane immediately and bring her home!