The Wait Continues…..

The Wait Continues…..

I am sure people are wondering where we are at….. We are not where we thought we would be. Last Friday evening we received a phone call asking if we renewed our fingerprints. Yes we did, but not recently. Our poor caseworkers knew what that meant. After all the paper sent to us, appointments, dates, information, more dates, more renewal dates, more paper, more of everything, we didn’t notice that our fingerprints were expiring and are now expired! UGH That means we can NOT travel until we get them redone. I overnighted payment to Texas and I check everyday to see if they processed our payment. Once they do, I can use our online back statement showing it was deducted from our account as proof to USCIS so they can set us up with a fingerprint appointment. Once we can get an appointment scheduled, we will finally be towards the end of our journey. The part that is hard to handle is the fact that almost all of the families who went to court with us are leaving in the next few days to get their little ones. Things moved quicker then expected, and we should be traveling too….but instead are waiting on fingerprints. :-(

Either way, it is what it is and we will be traveling as soon as we can. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to provide donations, we are so excited to bring bags and bags of donations with us once again. I will update again soon and let you know where we are in the process. We are so close to bringing Sawyer home forever. Hopefully this is the final bump in the road!

xo

Trip Part ONE……

Trip Part ONE……

Well we are home from our first trip to Ethiopia! What an unforgettable experience it was, can’t believe we are back home and waiting on our second trip! Where do I start…..everything about our time away was educational and something one really can’t fully understand unless you are there in the moment. We started our journey with a stopover in London, what a beautiful place! We had a layover so decided to break it up some, extend our time in London, in hopes of adjusting to the time change quicker once we arrived in Ethiopia. We did as much sightseeing in two days that some probably do in a week. We had a fantastic time together, but were all excited and anxious to get to Ethiopia! We started our journey to Ethiopia and began with what was going smoothly to a quick bumpy start. “I’m sorry Robyn, we don’t have a ticket for you” …huh….so what was once plenty of time to get on our flight turned into about 10 min to get to the plane. They finally figured it out, but it took forever and the London airport is huge and was about a 15 min plus walk to get to the gate! Annoying! We boarded the plane at 9pm and arrived in Ethiopia at 7am the next morning. The flight was okay, not great! Ethiopian air decided to serve meals one by one by one….which took FOREVER….then decided to leave all the meals on the trays for a good 2 hours with the lights on. Finally as they picked the meals up and dimmed the lights, the lights were back on and it was snack time! Ahhhhhhh!!! Needless to say, none of us got much sleep and were pretty tired upon landing in Ethiopia! We were greeted with a big smile from our guide, such a sweet man!! Loaded the van with our 9++ bags and off we went. Eyes wide open as we took in Addis on the way to the hotel. Wow!! In a short amount of time, we quickly realized this was going to be a trip of a lifetime.

We checked into the hotel, maybe had an hour and off we went to meet our son!! Again, the drive along the way is bumpy, dusty, dirty, and something we had to adjust to. There are pretty much NO traffic lights or stop signs. What I think is a 2 lane road turns into 3-4 wide pretty quickly. Entering an intersection is pretty much pure chaos, cars going all directions, you give a beep and start cutting across lanes and lanes of oncoming traffic. Completely nuts, but it seems to work for them. Cattle, goats, and horses sometimes just stand in the middle of the road, cars just go around them. When you are in bumper to bumper traffic you will hear a faint voice at your window, asking you for money or food. They say to ignore them, but that is easier said then done. Pretty soon you have multiple kids and adults all asking and they have the saddest face and eyes. I started carrying packs and packs on gum in my purse to hand out. Gum in Ethiopia is expensive and seems to be a HUGE treat for them. I would hear a faint voice or knock and would slip gum out the window. We would get a HUGE smile and almost a scream!!! Kids would run off yelling something (pretty sure whatever they said was something like “GUYS COME ON, FREE GUM” and soon there would be some friends at the van asking for some too! To see how something as simple as a pack of gum brings such joy, is mind boggling. We will be bringing more gum with us on trip two, if anyone wants to donate. :-)

We arrived down a bumpy side road, got out and knocked on a metal door. We have arrived at the orphanage! We walked in, eyes big ….and wide open!! We waited and waited and then one of the workers walked out with Sawyer, handed him to us and walked away. Wow!!! The moment is here, we are holding and meeting our son for the first time. He is precious, adorable, shy and a bit scared. He did pretty well but cried a lot. I mean, I get it….we don’t “look” like him, so I understand his reservation. He is such a sweet, sweet boy. At this point, we really can’t believe we are holding him after almost 3 1/2 years….completely crazy! We spent about 2 hours the fist day at the orphanage. We just sat around and held him. He wouldn’t let us put him down, or sit down and he was trying to hide his face most of the time. The nannies were there washing all the clothes by hand in buckets, placing them on the lines to dry. We didn’t really get to talk to anyone, nannies etc…so literally we just spent two hours staring at him, holding him and wondering what he was thinking.  Day two was similar to day one, but this time we walked around some and met some of the other children. Bubbles were a big hit and all of the older children loved blowing them on their own! One by one we held the wand while they blew bubbles!! It was wonderful to see them smile and interact with us and my parents. They would light up and you just wondered what they were thinking.  Knowing that some or most of the children will never be eligible for adoption is heartbreaking. We would have taken several of the children home with us, literally. There is nothing easy about standing there knowing one child’s life will forever be changed, while the others will remain the same. There is simply nothing easy about it. They all deserve a chance, they all deserve a family, they all deserve love and security. It is a tough situation, and if I could, I would help more in a heartbeat.  I do know that most of the kids don’t know any different, but we know different and we know what they are missing out on.

There is so much more to write…. to be continued with pictures!!!

xo

After Waiting Over 3 Years….WE HAVE A TRAVEL DATE!!!!!

After Waiting Over 3 Years….WE HAVE A TRAVEL DATE!!!!!

The Wait Is OVER!!!!!!

This is the post we have been waiting to write for OVER 3 years. This morning as I was out on a run, Shiela called who is our case worker from West Sands. It is actually kind of funny because everyday I watch the clock, do the math (since she is 2 hrs behind) and either say….there is no hope for today or okay it’s only 7:30am there, so there is still time for her to call! When my radio stopped playing because my phone was ringing, I thought…..please say her name! Sure enough….there it was! :-) WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!!! Thank you for the extra prayers, they worked!!!

Throughout this whole process you are on an emotional roller coaster, there are times of pure joy and excitement and other times of sadness and hopelessness.  On January 1st when we received our referral, it was pure joy a surreal feeling that is so hard to explain. We have waited almost 7 months for this moment that we are about to embark on. Finally, we have a court date and will officially make our baby an OAKLEY!! So many questions about the trip, about the orphanage, about the people we will meet. Will he be scared of us, will he cry or smile, will he know that we have longed for him for years and years?  We hope he is able to feel a sense of peace, and know that we will love him and care for him forever and ever! We are ready to experience all of Ethiopia and their culture. We have heard numerous times how wonderful and beautiful the people are. We know this will be a positive and life changing trip, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you.

With our journey being a little over a week away, we have some time to pack and get prepped for the biggest trip of our life. We will fly 1/2 way around the world to provide a forever home for our son.

As of August 6th 2015 there will be one less orphan, and one more Oakley. 

Stay tuned and thank you SO much for ALL of your support throughout the last 3+ years. We will keep you updated and will post when we can while in Addis!

Much Love!

xo

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Letter and Prayers Needed!!!

Letter and Prayers Needed!!!

Just a short post to let you all know we are still waiting for MOWA to produce our letter, once our letter is complete we will receive a court date to travel. We are really down to the wire as court will be closing for the rainy season mid August. We would ask each of you to say an extra prayer for our family tonight and for baby boy Oakley. We need MOWA to produce our letter ASAP….like tomorrow!! The adoption process is so long and tiring, but we are so close. We need this one LAST step to happen so we can finally meet our son. Thank you all so much for the support we have received and for your continued prayers. 

 

xo

Things are starting to feel real!

Things are starting to feel real!

How can it be that we are waking up this morning at home, back from vacation and it’s Londyn’s 4th Birthday! It really is true, the older you get the faster time passes by. We had such a wonderful week away with truly great friends. The kind of friends that will last a lifetime, the kind of friends that have become family, the kind of friends that would do anything for us and our kids. As we were sitting on the beach we ALL couldn’t help but think about our next adventure, when we will travel to officially adopt our baby boy. To know that your friends and family are just as excited as you are, is unexplainable. To know that they long to see him dig in the sand, swim in the waves and cause havoc in the house with the other kids, is priceless.  How can it be that we are FINALLY able to think about Africa and travel plans. How can it be that we can almost officially say that our next beach photo with include a baby boy!

Words can’t explain how good that feels!

It’s hard to believe our baby girl turns 4 today. We never imagined that she would be celebrating without her brother home. However, this will be her last time blowing out the candles without a little munchkin trying to blow them out for her! :-)

Thanks to our FRIENDS for an amazing week full of wonderful memories, we LOVE you ALL!!!!!

xo

Final Step and We are A Comin’ For Ya

Final Step and We are A Comin’ For Ya

Well, today was a good day and another step in the right direction! We received a phone call from our agency and they said we were given a PRELIMINARY hearing date! Although this is not a travel date, it is the final step necessary step before we receive a date to travel. Our preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 30th. It is really hard to explain how you feel when you receive these calls. After waiting over 3 years, all we want to do is meet our son, see him in person and connect with the little boy we were meant to parent and call our own. It is surreal to think about the next step, the final step, the step we have been waiting and waiting and waiting for! Our hope today is that we are able to travel in July or early August. That is a BIG task and a lot to ask, but it can be done. There were several families who also received phone calls today, we are all hopeful that our cases will be processed and we will ALL travel before the rainy season.

PLEASE say a BIG HUGE prayer for our family, that we will make the cutoff and travel before the closure in August, that we will travel safe and sound and that all families waiting will receive GOOD news like we did today! We are coming for you baby boy, we are one step closer!!!

Below is a list of items we would love to start collecting (for anyone local) :-) We can hardly believe that we see a flicker at the end of the tunnel!! Thank you for following our journey and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Hoping there is more good news to come!! If you would like to send items to Ethiopia with us, please let me know!

xoxo

Baby/Children’s Shampoo Lice Shampoo Baby/Children’s Soap Hygiene products

Oral Hygiene Products
Diaper Cream, Powder, Lotion, Baby Wipes (even 2 packages will help!)  Nutramigen baby formula –  Pedialyte Packets

Rice Cereal Diapers – Cloth or Disposable – Surgical Gloves – Size Medium Children’s Tylenol and Pepto-Bismol Common Children’s Medications Children’s Vitamins – slip on closed toed shoes – Bedding (crib, twin and full sizes) Mosquito Nets

Toys
Books
Clothing (especially children 4-12, in good condition) DVD’s (learning or Disney)

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…

They say a pictures is worth a thousand words, and I believe that is true. Yesterday we received some updated pictures of our baby boy. As always we fill with excitement and emotion about what’s to come, but we also are also reminded that he is growing up and getting older without us. Yesterday really made me stop and think about the process of life. Most of us are able to say that our parents can remember the day we were born, the excitement of the hospital and all the stories that go along with that. Family members in the waiting room and signs in the yard upon your arrival home. For us personally, we planned to have our girls and the support around us has been amazing since day one!

Seeing the pictures yesterday made me feel sad for all the children near and far that didn’t have the experiences that we did. The children that didn’t have family members waiting for their arrival, the children that never felt the sense of belonging, and for their parents who had to make extremely hard decisions. I have no doubt that they were all loved, but it is just disheartening to know that so many children have no idea what it means to have a family and feel as though they belong. It is easy to forget how others live, I am guilty of it myself. We have an amazing life and we truly are blessed for all that we have and have been given. His beautiful face tells an amazing story, he is deeply loved and I hope he will soon know what it is like to be showered with love, forever.  Please continue to keep our son, and all children “waiting” in your thoughts and prayers. We are still hoping for a miracle and need quick movement so we can travel for court.

Looking forward to the day we meet little one, you are loved!!!!

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xo

We need a miracle to beat the rain..

We need a miracle to beat the rain..

What a long fun weekend with Family and Friends! I am happy to report that we are getting closer in our journey to bring baby boy Oakley home. On May 22nd our PAIR letter made it to Ethiopia and was signed for at 5:02 pm. This means, our PAIR letter will now be filed with the Ethiopian courts and we are one step closer to traveling. At this point, we will be issued 2 court dates. The first date is the preliminary date that we do not travel for. Our agency will represent our family and provide final consent to the court.  Once the preliminary hearing has passed and MOWYCA has issued their letter of recommendation the court will issue a 2nd hearing which we will attend and give our consent!!! Although we are close, we still have a ways to go. Please keep our family and all families waiting in your thoughts and prayers. We hope they process quickly and issue court dates. We need to travel before August because they close for the rainy season. We are hoping for a miracle and would love to travel in late July (which will take a miracle)….  We don’t want to get stuck and if we don’t travel before rainy season, we have to wait until the courts reopen in October. After 3 long years, we are in the final stretch and couldn’t be more excited about meeting our soon to be son. I know I mentioned in my last blog that I would add the list of items that would be helpful donations for the orphanages. I will work on that tonight for anyone interested and will post soon!

 Please pray for QUICK movement…. we need a miracle to beat the rain.
xo

Mother Day 2015 1, 2, 3 …….. “4”

Mother Day 2015 1, 2, 3 …….. “4”

There is something special about this Mother’s Day! We finally know that this will be my last Mother’s Day as a mommy of 3. It is a surreal feeling knowing that a toddler will soon be joining our family and ruling the roost. For 3 years we have wondered when we would meet and knowing that it will be soon, is simply unbelievable.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and especially to our amazing mom, Gail! We are unbelievably lucky to have had amazing support throughout this journey. It has not been easy, it has not always been glamorous, it has been long and trying and we could not have done it without our support system. So today as you celebrate all the moms out there near and far, also celebrate all the children who are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to celebrate with their mom. Knowing that baby Oakley will be here to sign the card with his sisters next year is the best gift ever. We are so lucky!

xoxo

The “Golden” Ticket

The “Golden” Ticket

Exactly one week ago we posted that we received some good news. Once again, more good news has hit the Oakley house. We are another step closer to traveling and meeting our baby boy. We received what I call the “golden” ticket in the mail yesterday. I didn’t think it would actually be in the mail that quickly, but sure enough it was there! We will send the checks and all of the necessary paperwork off today, then wait for it to get to Ethiopia so we can be filed with Federal Court. This is not the end, but it is a major piece to the adoption puzzle. We are thankful that the time between PAIR approval and receiving the “golden” ticket (PAIR letter in the mail) was only one week apart!

Once we are filed, we will just sit and wait…..travel is getting closer and closer. For anyone local, Aron and I would love to bring big rubbermaid containers filled with donations for the orphanages. Be on the lookout for a list of items that our agency suggested, I will post them soon!

Keep sending positive thoughts our way, we are making progress!!

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