Friday, September 19, 2008


Today we got confirmation in the mail from Washington DC of the authentication of our adoption documents. Our documents have probably made it back to Grand Rapids, MI to the national Bethany Office and will be sent this coming week to Ethiopia, if it hasn't already been sent!!! I am so excited! I will start working on the baby's room once I know it has made it to Ethiopia. When we were in Kenya I got a beautiful hand-made quilt made by displaced women from all over Africa. I also have a gorgeous wall art piece that will go in the room. I only bought those two things in Kenya because I knew that I'd really want to fill the room with things that actually come from their nation.
Speaking of Kenya, my intention was to post pics of our trip over time as we have gotten back since we were strapped for pictures their but I haven't done that at all. So I'm starting tonight. My camera was blurred almost the whole time ( thanks Kara) and all 500 pictures are not close to perfect so I apologize in advanced....

This first picture is us with my family at Charlotte-Douglas airport. Bethany has no idea she is about to go half-way across the world!

This is our first morning in Kenya. We got to this hotel in the early morning, maybe 12AM? This is the night that Joey and Bethany slept like a rock and I couldn't sleep a wink because I heard something scratching on the tin roof and was convinced it was a big iguana trying to get into the room because we had pizza in there. I was also paranoid of the fact that we were in Africa and at any moment rebels were going to come rushing into our room and hold us captive for ransom! Silly girl. Neither ended up being true. There are no iguana's in Kenya or any rebel groups that I knew of. Bethany never slept in this crib they set up for her, she slept in between the two of us. She did like to play with this mosquito net, though.

Later that morning, Gerald, the driver for Samaritan's Purse and who picked us up at the airport, came to the hotel and took us to the Nakumat, a big chain of grocery/target-like stores in Nairobi, to shop for the 7 week stay. He was the sweetest little young man and he loved Bethany. He was so excited for Bethany to meet Ann Marie. He had driven the Fitzwaters into Tenwek about 6 weeks before. Gerald was a city boy by Kenyan standards. He had grown up in the capital city but his mother was from the Kipsigi tribe that surrounds Tenwek and had traveled to Nairobi to do more with her life. She was lucky to land a job and get married to an educated man. The majority of the rural folks who try to make it in the city usually end up in the slums of Nairobi with more poverty than they left. Gerald was a computer science major and loved his family, school, and was very grateful for his job driving. He was one of the few driver's for SP that continued to transport during the former uprising because he was Kipsigis and was not at risk for danger like many of the other drivers. Many still will not go all the way into Tenwek Hospital because at one time there was such danger because of their tribal connections.

I plan to chronicle Kenya by pics, so keep visiting for updates. Also, for Ethiopia news of when our dossier makes it to the country!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Our I-171H came in the mail on Wednesday!!! It was one of the most joyful days of my entire life. I went straight to the UPS store to have it copied to complete our dossier. Friday, Bethany, Gamo and I went to Columbia to have the documents state sealed and given to our social worker! I was so ecstatic that I could hardly hold it in. I compare this piece of paper to the day we had our gender ultra-sound. It was a moment when I felt like the little being growing inside me was actually a reality. That day my love just over-flowed for a person that I hadn't even met yet. In the same way, when I turned in our dossier the being that has been growing in my heart seemed real and my anticipation was marked by joy and a sense pride for this person. It was also a feeling of relief. It has always been in the Lord's hands but now the best part comes, we wait and trust the Lord to lead us to our son or daughter, and see how God always goes beyond our expectations. We'll be lead to a baby that has been chosen since the creation of the world to be a part of our family!!! How exciting!
We've had a lot of questions about travel. We will go to Ethiopia and expect to spend 2 weeks there to complete our adoption. I am looking forward to putting my feet on Ethiopian soil. It's a place where it's people are prideful in their rich culture and close knit family units. I want to learn as much as I can about traditions and holidays and food, all the things that will connect my child their roots. I also can't wait to shop! We plan to get something called life gifts. They are typically given at birthdays and are special gifts that come from their birth country. We hope to bring our child back to Ethiopia one year as a life gift.
I'll keep updating as the days go by. Our dossier still has to go to Grand Rapids, MI to the national BCS office for review. Then it is sent to Washington, DC and then to Ethiopia.

On a different note, my little girl used the big potty yesterday!!!! I couldn't believe it! We were in the bathroom getting ready for a bath and she said "potty" and pulled at her diaper. We've been through this before and I thought it was another time to play and pretend to use the potty. I stepped out of the room for literally 5 seconds and came back to her peering in her potty seat. When I looked in their was pee-pee!!! I was so proud! She then got two cookies. I think the whole thing was a fluke but I sure hope not! We'll see.