Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mini-Cerniglia Update! From #2

Hello everybody! This is Angie or as Cristie calls me #2! I wanted to give those of you who aren't on facebook a little update on the Cerniglia's (or half of them!)
They arrived safely on Saturday and got to hold their precious son on Sunday!
I got to see them via Skype today and trust me, Evan is absolutely adorable!!!! And very content!! They have molded together already!

Their US Embassy appointment was on Monday and went well, and neither of them have been sick with any stomach bug either!
Cristie was even able to see our little boy (in fact he was the first child they saw when they arrived at Hannah's hope! The director was holding him!)
Other than Jet-lag, I think they are doing great! Cristie has nothing but good things to say!

They are due back Friday and I personally can't wait!!
She will much more to blog about then!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Packed! We leave the day after tomorrow!

It is 12:30 am and I just finished writing letters for the girls to read each day while we are gone. I sealed them in individual dated envelopes so each one would be a surprise and something to look forward to (not as fun as Cris P. who did bags with goodies in them :) but I'm doing the best I can!! I tried to give them a few assignments each day so they won't wear Rusty's folks out completely too! Also let them know what our day would look like and told them how they could pray for us.

I got Evan and I 95% packed today. Rusty is on his own :) (I say lovingly). It was hard work, but with Morgan's help, we got it done today! What a weight lifted off my back. Now I can go to BSF in the morning and enjoy the study and "fill up" on God's awesome word before we leave!! I can't wait until we're actually on the road and in the air and I can actually bask in the awesomeness that we are on our way to Evan! With all this preparation I really haven't had time to reflect much on how cool this part is!

Shout out of thanks to my support system today: Angie/#2 who passed court today!!! Praise the Lord, Cris P. who recently traveled and is an awesome resource on travel questions, Susan P. who I am looking forward to meeting face to face on Thursday night late in the JFK airport as we share in this awesome experience together! My in-laws who arrived today, 2 days early, to help out. Our treasured friends the Hunters who came to wish us well tonight, and my dear neighbor Marissa who gave me a paper bag to make my apple pie in and is always available in my food/entertaining emergencies!! I love you all!!! :) Hugs and smiles!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Counting down the days...and adding up the lists!

It is Monday night. I made another $200 trip to Wal-Mart tonight and I didn't buy any clothes for Evan! It was all just STUFF that everyone says we need for this humongous journey around the world! I am checking so many different packing lists I can't keep one straight from the other. I am determined to have EVERYTHING we maybe, might possibly need, along with a little extra just in case one of the other families in our group didn't bring "it". It can get a little overwhelming! The countdown continues. The girls are down to 12 days until they meet their baby brother! Morgan continues to monitor closely the number of days until Mom and Dad leave, while her sisters focus more on our return! The in-laws will arrive tomorrow which will really make it seem more real that we are leaving at last!!! It is all such a whirlwind! I know we will finally exhale when we get in the truck and drive away toward the airport. Then we will know we have done all we can and we are truly on our way to EVAN. I already couldn't sleep last night, so many thoughts running, racing through my head. I have to sleep with pen and paper by the bed to write the things down as they come. Pen and paper by my makeup mirror, in the kitchen and in the office too! Always a new list and an addition to the old one. Will I remember it all? No, but Angie will---I'll make sure of that!!! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bracelet, Necklace, Tiara

This awesome necklace was a gift from my sweet Angelia. I have debated on whether to post it or not because I know everyone will love it and run out to buy one and I wanted to be the only one with this great "Momlace" :) But I suppose none of the rest of you will get one with "Morgan, Paige, Carley, and Evan" on it will you? It even has "Rusty 5-7-94" on the back!
She knew I was having trouble with my "Momacelet", which when I added the 4th strand started breaking constantly so she found this! Rusty nearly smacked me when I asked how we could add another disc to this one! Oh well, I suppose if we have a 5th child I will just buy a personalized tiara. You can reasonably wear a tiara if you have 5 kids right? LOL

Darling Baby Boy Bibs!!

Check out these baby boy bibs my mom made for Evan!
The Formal Affair
The Clown
The Farmer
The Suit and Tie
If you want to order one you can Facebook her at
Mary Anne Lawley Logan

Monday, March 8, 2010

13 more days to hold Evan...

I am working to max out every day between now and the 18th when we leave. It seems there is so much to do. Every day I mark 4 or 5 items off my to do list, and then add 6 or 7 back on! Each person I talk to alerts me to another "possibility" of something to pack or bring. I really want to be prepared. Tomorrow I get my hair colored and cut, the last thing I want is for Evan to think he's stuck with some dark-rooted, sloppy hair-wearin' Kentucky Momma!! :)

We still don't have news on Angie and Matt's court date today. All they needed was one paper so surely they have been approved-right? Angie has done her homework and she found a friend of ours who passed court and traveled 10 days later, and so we hold out hope that they will be with us when we leave on the 18th!

We found out our new friends in NY will be traveling with us and even be on our flight from JFK to Dubai and then on to Ethiopia so that should be fun! I warned her that I am a "professional" when it comes to talking and she promised I'd met my match! Do you think we can talk non-stop for 14 hours and 45 minutes from NY to Dubai? Piece of cake. :) They will be meeting their 3 month old son!

Rusty's parents are confirmed to arrive on Tuesday to keep the kids while we're gone. What a relief not to have to pack them to go somewhere as well! They will stay for a few days after we return as well so we can rest a little. Thank you Lord for great in-laws!!

I ordered us more shirts off www.cafepress.com tonight. It is an awesome website with every kind of adoption t-shirt you can imagine. I want to wear them on the plane both ways so that we can easily connect with other adoptive families. Though I guess on the way home we'll be pretty obvious! I made the girls and I Africa shirts this week that they will wear to the airport to meet us. So cute. My mom is going to do the stitching around the Africa outline and put hearts where Ethiopia is.

I must say I would have NEVER imagined all this would be happening. As I look back over this adoption journey I can't believe we've made it to this point. What a LONG road it has been. What a roller coaster ride with such highs and lows. I know this is the highest of highs that we are about to experience. A trip to Africa is HUGE all by itself, let alone meeting our new son and bringing him home for the first time!!! It is just SO big! If you had told me that we would adopt a son from around the world 10 years ago I would have thought you were nuts! But now it brings to mind the song "look what the Lord has done, He healed my body, He touched my mind..He saved me just in time oh I'm gonna praise His name, cause each day He's just the same, come on and praise Him..look what the Lord has done!!!!!" That is the only way to explain this. He started it and He will finish it and I am in awe that He has allowed us to be a part of it! What a privilege and a blessing. And all this before we even meet him! I know the blessing is only beginning!

Right now I am praying for God's grace as we travel. God is reminding me of my tendency toward spoiled self-centeredness. You know, as in "what if I don't get a hot shower?" or "what if I don't like the food, Lord, you know how car sick I get when my tummy isn't full!" There are a lot of "what if's" in this travel, that's for sure. I am told that the electricity goes off for hours at a time in the city. In and of myself, this will be a very difficult trip for me, but I am trusting God to fill me with patience, and love, and peace that passes all understanding. He is able, I am not. My desire is to completely enjoy every aspect of this trip in spite of the way it may challenge my "comforts". My comforts need to be challenged! Will you pray with me?

Thank you Evan for changing our lives. You've already started and I know there is more to come. People say you are blessed to join our family, I know we are blessed to have you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My dear friend Karen and her family came over last night to share all the details of their recent trip to Ethiopia to bring home sweet baby William (8 months old). I remember when I first met Karen (2 years ago) and she shared that they were starting their paperwork to adopt a child from Ethiopia and I thought "how nice for them" never dreaming that we would soon be in the same situation!! Isn't the Lord hilarious? We have walked this road together and held one another up in prayer. We were blessed to be at the airport when they got home two weeks ago. I told her I would give her a few days to rest but then I needed DETAILS!!! She shared their experience and had even taken notes on things she did not want me to forget to pack! What a blessing to hear their story and to hold William. He has the softest skin EVER! It made me feel closer to Evan just holding this baby who shares a story and a homeland with our son.

Just a thought:
I have never met an adoptive family who doesn't desire to go back and do it again. Interesting.

A fun step stool project

I bought this unfinished wood step stool at Michaels for next to nothing and had fun painting it and Modge-Podging a verse on it by cutting the letters out of a magazine. The girls had fun cutting out letters too! You can buy Modge-Podge at WalMart or Michaels and paint it on with a sponge brush. I did some plates like this at Christmas time that came out cute too. I cut out letters to spell "Tis the Season" in the center of the plate and then all sorts of words for around the rim like "Fun", "Family", "love", "cooking and sharing", "parties", ...etc.

1 Timothy 4:12 (New International Version)

12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young

Countdown to Evan

We made this poster to count down the days until the girls will meet their baby brother for the first time. We made it so that they can cut a day off the end each morning and visually see the time get shorter and shorter. We started with 23 days from Thursday-the day our travel was confirmed. I wrote the date under each number and made a note for each day we will be in Ethiopia telling what is happening that day (Sunday the 21- Gotcha Day, Monday the 22nd- Embassy appointment, Tuesday the 23rd- shopping, Wednesday the 24th- Cultural dinner, Thursday the 25th-Travel, Friday the 26th-Forever Family reunion!) Seeing this every time I go up and down the stairs is a real JOY-PRODUCER!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Which is harder...before or after the referral?

As we waited on the waiting list I did OK until we hit the #3. For some reason that really made it all come alive in me. At last it felt like this was really going to happen and I began to panic. "We're not ready!!" was my cry! And so we prepared in the hopes that any day we would get the referral call and behaved as though we could travel any day. This was October 26, 2009. Well it didn't take long to prepare his room and then I hit my low point. We found out we were #2 on 11/6 and #1 on 11/12. We didn't get our referral until January 5, 2010. These were the hardest weeks for me (just go back and read the posts if you don't believe me!). I worried that the waiting might be harder after we saw his photo but I have to say it hasn't been. Maybe if my 3-2-1-referral countdown had gone faster this time would be more difficult to wait through, but we were so happy to "know" him finally and have things in motion!
The great thing about the time between referral and travel is that you always have motion. Things are happening most all the time and that keeps your mind occupied. Now, here we are waiting for THE day and it feels so good to finally have the END in sight (or the beginning, depending on how you look at it!). Just to know we will see him in 15 days is enough to keep a smile on my face 24/7!! Our friends came over last night with their new 8 month old son from Ethiopia and just to hold him made me feel closer to sweet Evan-boy.
What a blessing to be involved in this whole process as difficult as it has been at times, it has forced me to lean into God and to actually "walk" what I say I believe. And for that, I am thankful.
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Confirmed Travel Dates for March 22

This is me with a confirmed travel date!

I don't know how it can get any better than this! We got the call yesterday, only one day after receiving the call for tentative travel, that our dates are confirmed and we will participate in the March 22nd Embassy date! We had just heard back from the travel agent with an itinerary that matched what we wanted and Julie called to give us the "go ahead"! We sent the itinerary to her and she approved it within minutes and we were back on the phone with the travel agent to book it! We are beyond excited, far above thrilled, and way past delighted at the thought of meeting Evan on the 21st!
The girls and I made a "Countdown to Evan" poster yesterday (I'll post a photo of it soon)! We wrote the numbers on it 1-23 and will cut off a number each day to show how many are left until they get to meet their baby brother! I start to cry just typing that sentence! It seems too good to be true after all this time! How many exclamation marks can I use in one post???
At this point it doesn't look good for Angie and Matt (#2) to travel with us, but we know God can do far above anything we ask or imagine, so we won't give up hope!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tentative Travel Dates!

Our Case Worker called today to give us tentative travel dates for an Embassy Appointment in Ethiopia for March 22!! We will leave two weeks from tomorrow! Unbelievable! Our first court date was February 4 and we did not pass. If we had passed we would have hoped to travel on March 8. Turns out, the March 8 Embassy Appointment for our agency was cancelled. So...we are travelling ASAP anyway! Thank you Lord!

We are supposed to have finalized dates (which just means we can go ahead and buy our tickets because it is set in stone) by Monday which is two weeks from the Embassy Appointment. But Julie says the only way we won't travel on the 22nd now is if the Embassy cancels the date which is highly unlikely.

Rusty is talking to travel agents and calling our cell phone provider to find out about international calls and I am shopping like a crazy person! My friend who just returned home from Ethiopia with her 8 month old son told me she changed his clothes SIX times during the 24 hour trip home! That reminded me of a reality of infants that I had forgotten about--the messy, spit-up, poop-out, endless laundry reality of an infant!!! So I'm wondering how many outfits do we need for 7 days away from home with limited (if any) laundry access? Also, we have had two sets of updated measurements for Evan lately and evidently he is shrinking! :) So it's hard to rely too much on the information we are getting from the transition home as far as what size to buy. So last week I bought 6-9 month and this week I bought 3-6 month! The plan is to keep tags on and return whatever we didn't need or didn't work. So tricky to pack! I have a pile in my closet that I add to daily of things we may need (mainly food-ha ha). I am determined not to waste away on this trip! :)

It's hard to believe that we will have a new baby in this house by the end of the month! What an awesome birthday present for Mommy! Thank you Lord for bringing him home for my birthday. You know the desires of my heart!

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Why Wouldn't I?