Baby Nyah Is........

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Off We Go

Can't write too much tonight. I am exhausted, excited, fearful, happy, etc.....We heard from Natalie on Monday afternoon at 3:30pm. She informed us of the new regulations for court. We have a MOWA date scheduled for Friday, October 29th. To make a long story short, she informed us that if we can make it to Ethiopia for court on Friday we would fall under the new rule and can finalize the adoption that day if all goes well. Needless to say, it has been crazy here. I leave tomorrow afternoon and will attend the court hearing on Friday. Hopefully all goes well and Nyah will be in my arms this weekend. Jim will follow in a few weeks to attend the embassy date and accompany us home :) I will keep everyone up to date about the new process as I think we may be one of the first. Keep us in your prayers. Hope to introduce you to our little one soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Court Date

We received a call from Gladney today with our court date. MOWA is scheduled for October 29th and our court date is November 29th. Hopefully, I can arrange my schedule (I have to either get coverage or rearrange finals) to stay with our sweet girl until our Embassy Date. Jim and I are planning to leave the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I will hopefully have more to share soon.....Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nyah is 4 Months Old Today

Well, today Nyah is 4 months old. Our paperwork for court was submitted prior to the court closure in August, but we were not assigned a date. Hopefully, we will hear something this week. We are still holding out hope that we will have her in our arms before Christmas.

This week we began preparing the nursery. A wonderful artist here in the high country designed and made a special bedding set just for Nyah. She also made her a very comfy pink robe, a boppy to help strengthen her muscles, a shopping cart cover, and a beautiful blanket and quilt. If anyone would like information on this artist or is interested in ordering anything let me know and I will forward you her email address.

Nikolaus (our 12-year-old) also made letters out of wood and painted them a sparkling pink color. They are now hanging about her crib :) Now, all we need is our little princess and it will be complete.

We did receive a wonderful update from the in-country staff Friday. Here is what they had to say..."Nyah is filling out so well. I almost didn’t recognize her when I first saw her this morning! She’s smiling so much and seems so laid back and gentle. We spent a lot of time cooing at each other this morning. She’s a real sweetheart. At one point, she began waving her arm as though she were conducting an orchestra. Perhaps she has music in her future."

If you have time this week, please pray that we will be granted a court date - Thank you for all your support and love - Laura and Jim

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Update on Our Princess

We received an update from Gladney today on Baby N. She will be 3 months old on Friday. I live for these small glimpses of her life in Ethiopia. Here is what the in-country staff had to say.....
“I found Baby N sunning with her friends in the garden of her foster care house. It was a nice morning: the sun was shining brightly and we had a long enough break from the rains that the caregivers could let the babies enjoy some sunshine for a little while. Baby N seemed very content, bathing in sunshine there on a mattress. Some babies were fussing and fretting about it, but she just lay there resting and enjoying some warmer weather. She is such a sweet little baby—very smiley and happy. It’s been fun to watch her fill out over these past few weeks, adding some nice baby fat to her little frame and becoming more and more alert and interactive. What a doll!”
Please....please....please move a little faster Mr. Time. I can't stand this wait for a court date. I know I am whining but indulge me :) This sweet girl has touched our lives so much and has added so much love to our family and she is not even here yet.
I had some great news from the Dean at the School of Nursing. She has graciously given me the freedom to stay in Addis between the court and embassy date if I need to. I am still struggling with the decision, but this has helped a lot. I will continue to teach on-line from there pending Internet access. I am also trying to speak with someone at Addis Ababa University about taking a tour of the nursing school and possibly shadowing a nursing professor for a few days while we are in-country. Jim may do the same with the physics department. I will hopefully be working on an exchange program with the nursing students that would allow 8-10 of our students to visit for 2-3 weeks every other summer. They would be volunteering in the orphanages and practicing their pediatric assessments and skills. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Here is the million dollar question....Should I stay or should I go? Now that we are closing in on finding out our travel dates, I am struggling with the decision to make the two trips (leaving Baby N) and returning for the Embassy date, or staying in-country and taking placement after we pass court. I continue to pray every day for the answer. My heart is telling me to stay and try to work something out with my employer, however I am having an issue with leaving my other two children for that long (one is 18 and the other 12) and also my students as it will be mid-semester.
Jim will not be able to stay the entire time with me. He would fly home and fly back to pick us up. Since it is going to be close to the holiday season, I feel that it would be best to have some "alone time" with her to make sure she is feeling safe with her new Mommy (yeah!) before we expose her to the activity of the entire family. I treasured the time I had to bond with both my boys and she deserves the same. I deserve the same. Jim is very nervous about me being alone in Ethiopia and worries because he won't be there if I need anything. I want so badly to soak in the culture and the people of Ethiopia. I am hoping to present my Dean with the possibility of taking nursing students down to volunteer in the government orphanages every other summer. I would also love to visit the School of Nursing at Addis Ababa University.
See my dilemma? If anyone out there in adoption land has any advice please give me some input. If you are planning to stay I would love to connect with you soon (my email is I think Jim would feel much better about the decision if he knew there were other Moms and Dads staying as well. I am anticipating the first trip to be around Oct 19th. Thanks in advance for your input and support.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 Weeks Old and Growing

Baby N is ten weeks old today and growing..... Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a court date before the closures but are hopeful that we will receive an "official update" soon from Gladney. We are so grateful to the Bentley Family ( who just returned after passing court. They took a few pictures for us while they were there. I am a little bias, but she is soooo beautiful. I thank God everyday for bringing her into our lives.

The waiting game is really hard right now. It was difficult to wait for a referral but I think it is possibly more difficult to see her face everyday and know she will not be in our arms until sometime in November (I hope). I am desperately trying not to focus on this and have plenty to keep the family busy. Our oldest moved into his own apartment and Nikolaus started 7th grade yesterday. Nikolaus is also playing travel basketball and started practicing already. Jim and I have started teaching preparations for this semester and continue to work on publications.

On a side note.....I stopped at Babies R Us today. Can I just tell you that it was a completely overwhelming experience. I almost had a mini panic attack. Are all of those gadgets necessary? I know I have not had a baby in the house for a while, but seriously..... a spa tub for an infant? Do they really need a toilet seat that talks to them or a mattress that costs over $400 (endorsed by orthopedic surgeons)? It is literally going to take a big glass of wine to recover from the experience. Oh well....I guess I better put my head in the game and prioritize.

Thank you once again to all my Gladney extended family. Your support is much appreciated and helps immensely during this waiting period - Laura

Friday, August 6, 2010

Court Update...The Wait Continues

Well, today we got a call from Natalie. We had some good news and some bad news. The good news is that our file is complete and has been submitted to the courts in Ethiopia. The bad news is that the court has closed for the rainy season and will not re-open until September 28th. So, although the paperwork is there, we will have to wait to find out when our court date and first trip will be. Natalie is anticipating sometime in mid-October or early November. I am trying to be realistic but I sure hope we have Baby N home by Thanksgiving.
Jim and I both start the semester the week of August 16th and I am hoping (almost positive) that the students and research projects will keep us busy during this "quiet" time. I guess I will start working on putting the nursery together. She will be here before we know it :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How It All Went Down

Sleep....What Sleep??

I don't think I have properly slept since Thursday night. Maybe it is my body's way of preparing for this precious little girl. This past week was difficult for our entire family. As noted in our previous post, Jim lost his parents and a sister 40 years ago Friday in a tragic car accident. He was 3 years old at the time and was not able to experience the love and nurturing his parents provided for his older siblings (8 of them). His oldest sister raised him and did a wonderful job. He is a remarkable man and a wonderful husband and father. This time of year is tough on him as he reflects on this experience. The week was also difficult for me as we are preparing to move our oldest off on his own (he graduated in June from high school). Additionally, I am on my second reconstructive shoulder surgery and desperately trying to recover (I was mugged in Ireland at a conference last year and unfortunately they got the best of my shoulder...but not my purse :) did not seem that the referral fairy was going to visit and I was feeling pretty blue. I just sat down to ice my shoulder and watch a little CNN. My youngest son was letting the dogs out for me so I could rest. Then the phone rang....

For a split second, I thought "let it ring, it can't be Gladney". Thank goodness I looked at my cell phone....817. I threw the ice off my arm and started screaming at my son. Natalie (that sweet girl) was on the line. She said "Laura, I have your referral". I responded, "seriously, you have to be kidding me". From that point on it was a blur.

Unfortunately, Jim was at work. He is a physics professor and was on the top of a roof installing a climate monitoring system for NASA. I let Natalie know that he was unavailable but I would try to reach him. Simultaneously, Nikolaus was calling Jim to tell me we got a referral. We discussed our options (take the referral alone and share it with him later or wait until Monday morning when we could be together). WHAT DO YOU THINK THE DECISION WAS. Of course, we took the referral and what a wonderful experience it was.

Our little girl is so beautiful. She is 7 weeks old and overall very healthy. She has the most precious smile. Her story was difficult to hear but the presence of God throughout her young journey is apparent. Emotionally, I was all over the board. Crying, laughing, praying, and grieving all at the same time. Our hearts are so full of love already it is overwhelming at times. The rest of the evening was filled with printing pictures, calling family and friends, and rejoicing.

So....what we thought was going to be a difficult week ended up being the most blessed. Now, instead of my husband only reflecting on his loss on July 23rd, he can also remember that it was the first day he saw his precious little girl's face. We took her picture with us to church tonight and offered our prayers to her birth family, the Gladney staff, and all who have touched her young life. It was a peaceful experience knowing God is in control and will care for her until we can be with her. To top it all off, we had a guest priest tonight from where?....Africa of course:)

As we continue to process the events of this week, I physically feel a part of my heart opening just for her. I look forward to the day that it will be filled and complete and we become a family of 5. God Bless - Laura

PS...If anyone reading this post is traveling soon, please contact me at We are anxious for additional pictures and the possibility of sending our little princess a care package.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One Additional Note

I just want to add one additional post tonight. My husband Jim lost his Mother (Catherine), Father (Clair), and Sister (Betsy) 40 years ago today. He was 3 years old. His sister Pat took him in and raised him to be the man he is today. On that same day 40 years later, he saw the beautiful face of his new daughter half way around the world. If anyone has any doubt about how great God is, the events of today should leave no question - Laura


We just got the call from Natalie....She is absolutely precious. 7 weeks old, healthy, and adorable. More later :)

Laura and Jim

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Top

I must say that being in one of the top positions on the FBI List is by far one of the most emotional rides I have been on. When the phone rings, I just about stop breathing. By the end of the day I look like I belong in a strait jacket. I even went to the health food store for some calming tea :) Didn't work...... Thanks for letting me share - Laura

Monday, July 19, 2010

7 Months Waiting for Baby N

Hopefully, 7 will be the lucky number for us. After stalking the blogs this morning, I was surprised to see that we are "unofficially" #1 for a girl 0-6 months old. I pray every day that we will see her face soon. Just the thought of knowing that she is in the Gladney system somewhere and that some of you who have traveled recently may have seen her warms my heart and provides me a sense of peace.
We have had a busy month otherwise. My oldest is getting ready to set out on his own soon. We are in the process of searching for an apartment for him and getting his paperwork together for full-time work until he goes to community college in the spring. Nikolaus is preparing to go back to school on August 11th. He will be moving up to junior high and wants to make sure he "looks good" for the move. You gotta love the egos at this age..... He will also be going to football camp an starting basketball practice for the travel team.
Jim and I are both working on summer grants, writing, and analyzing data (what fun). I will keep the blog up to date and as soon as I hear something you will be the first to know.
God Bless....Laura

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Where O' Where Are the Referrals.....

Where are the referrals.... I know I am whining (just a little). I had surgery last week on my shoulder and have nothing to do but sit and think. I am unable to type for any length of time and summer travel plans had to be rearranged. Too much time is a dangerous thing for me. I wake up and go to sleep wondering... Will we get a call tomorrow, next week, next month. Currently we are "unofficially" #3 for a girl 0-6 months.
I am desperately trying to stay in the moment but it is not working very well. I guess I should try to find a project (other than paying bills) to keep me occupied :)
Congrats to all getting court dates before the rainy season. We will pray that all goes well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Six Months Waiting for Baby N

We made it to six months... Whew. We have had a busy few weeks with end of school celebrations, graduation (our 18 year old graduated this year), basketball camp, and traveling. It helps to keep busy during this time. I continue to wonder if a referral will come in time to receive a court date before the rainy season. There is still hope, I think. It seems that the "unofficial list" is moving slowly.
I received some great news from our church yesterday. We received a $3000 grant for adoption expenses. This is going to help immensely. We still need to work a little harder with fundraising as we need another $5000 or so for travel (now that 2 trips are required).
We will be leaving for our annual pilgrimage to Wisconsin next week to visit family and friends. It will be nice to relax a bit and catch up with everyone.
Congratulations to all the families that are home with their new family member(s), are traveling, or are waiting to hear about court dates. This community of people we have become acquainted with are so giving and supportive. I don't know how I could make it through the wait without the daily interaction.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Promises and Questions

I promised myself at the beginning of this adoption process that I would not be one of those parents-in-waiting that would try to predict when we would get a referral and constantly be bothering our caseworker at Gladney. Well, so far I have fulfilled the promise of not bothering our caseworker but I am failing miserably at avoiding the predictions and speculation.

I am by nature a Type A personality on speed with major control issues (surprise...surprise). I know myself and my tendencies very well and vowed to live "in the moment" and believe without question that God would provide and when the time was right he would reveal our daughter. I have tried to stay busy with both of my sons activities. Nikolaus plays sports year-round and my oldest son is graduating from high school tomorrow. However, now that school has ended and I am done teaching for the semester, I find myself constantly online and wondering....

Will we get a referral this month?

If we get a referral, will we make a court date before the rainy season?

How will Jim and I travel in the fall if we don't make it this summer (we both teach at and will have to arrange for class coverage)?

Will I be able to take Nikolaus out of school and football to travel in the fall?

And on...and on...and on...

I figured I would let it out here in an effort to regain some sanity. I am not wining (0k maybe a little bit), and I know I should trust the process. Hopefully, things will move along in the month of June and I will find some peace again. Does anyone else feel this way or is it just my nutty personality? -Laura

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary.....Jim and I have been married 16 years today. It is hard to believe. I am sitting here this morning reflecting on all that we have been through in the last 16 years (22 years if you count the dating). We have moved 11 times, had two children, adopted 3 dogs and 3 cats, lived in 9 states, aquired PhD's, survived health issues, and on and on and on. I guess that is the making of a strong marriage and a lasting commitment to always love and support each other.
Now we are embarking on another journey to adopt again. This time, we are waiting for a referral for a little girl from Ethiopia. I have to say, I am truly ready to see her face. We have only been waiting 5.5 months, but I am still hopeful that we may be able to get a referral before the courts close in August. We continue to pray everyday that God will grant us patience, love, and understanding during this process. Now that I am home for the summer I am finding it more difficult to concentrate on anything else.
Congrats to all those that have received referrals, court dates, and travel dates. I pray every day for your safety as you make this remarkable journey to your children.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5 Months on the Waitlist

Well...... we have made it to month 5. We still are holding out hope that we will receive a referral soon. I can't help wondering if we will have a chance to make it before the courts close in August.
Congrats to all those receiving referrals this month. It really helps to hear all your "Call" stories. Hopefully they keep coming.
We continue to pray everyday for patience during this process. I just need to know our little Nayah is safe and healthy. I also need to know that her birth family is at peace with their decision to bring her into our lives.
The semester and graduation is over and now it is time to start focusing on home improvement projects. Painting, new tiles, and landscaping are at the top of the list. During this time, we will also be designing Nayah's room. Pink and Chocolate Brown I think.....Hmmmmm.

Friday, April 16, 2010

4 Months on the Wait List

Patience, patience, patience. We are "unofficially" #7 on the waitlist for a girl. Things have moved really quickly over the last few weeks. Congrats to all those receiving their referrals. We are patiently waiting for "the call" but have resigned to the fact that it will be a few more months. The average wait currently sits at 9 months for 0-12 month old.
We are starting to look at furniture for Nayah and clothes. In addition, the adoption ministry is beginning to form at church. We have had a lot of people donating clothes for both the trip and for a potential rummage sale at the end of May. Hopefully, this money will help with the additional expense of traveling twice to Ethiopia.
We continue to think about her constantly and pray for her and her biological family and the decisions they will be making in the near future. In the meantime, I have been drawing some inspiration from a few of my favorite quotes on "patience"
All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope- Alexandre Dumas Père

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.- Eknath Easwaran

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.- Arnold H. Glasgow

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Three Months Waiting for Nayah

Well, it has been three months on the waiting list for a referral. We have had a busy winter with travel basketball and family visits. I am not able to write too much tonight due to shoulder reconstruction last week. I was mugged in Ireland in November and never really recovered. Now, I incessantly stalk the blogs and pray that the list continues to move. I guess it is time to go back to work..... We congratulate all the families who have received referrals over the last month and pray that you have expedient court and travel dates. Now that the regulations are changing and we have to plan two trips, we are struggling with the decision to let our youngest child travel with us. Hopefully, with the help of friends and family, we can raise enough money for him to travel on the second trip.
We are also in the process of working with another adoptive family in our community on starting an adoption ministry in the High Country. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring this diverse community together and hopefully open up others hearts to adoption (domestic or international). It is an exciting and rewarding journey. Our oldest son is domestically adopted through Los Angeles Foster Care and he is a senior this year (18 years old). I can't believe he has been with us that long. Now I feel old...... Anyway, we are looking forward to this new adventure. We pray everyday for God to grant us patience during this process. Above all, we pray for our little girl and her family in Ethiopia. May their hearts find peace.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two Months on the Wait List

We have been on the waitlist two months today. Referrals have been slow but the average wait time reported by our agency is 8 months. Hopefully, those on the list who have been waiting for over 7 months will hear something soon. We continue to pray everyday for patience and understanding through this process. I have been working with one of the local churches on starting an adoption ministry for people in the process or considering adoption. It can be a lonely place sometimes and we want to be sure to embrace and encourage those making their way through the mounds of paperwork and difficulties faced during this very rewarding journey. We live in a more rural area of North Carolina with few resources for adoption support. This will be a great way to bring people together to support a great mission.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

No new news on the adoption front. Referrals seems to be a little slow this month. Hopefully things will start moving soon. In the meantime, the snow is still falling here in the mountains of North Carolina.

Basketball season is in full-swing for Nikolaus. We traveled to Virginia today and are off to Tennessee the next two weekends. JJ is still working toward graduation in May. Jim and I are very busy this semester between teaching and research. My Mom is still enjoying her work at the church. We are going to be starting an adoption ministry at the church with the kick-off scheduled for Mother's Day. It is an exciting adventure that will offer us the opportunity to help others struggling with the expenses of adoption.

We continue to pray everyday for our little angel and her birth family in Ethiopia. Enjoy Valentine's Day and hold on tight to those in your heart.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ethiopian Feast

Today the family tried many different Ethiopian recipes. We made Yataklete Kilkil, Ethiopian Beef Stew in Berbere Sauce, Injera, Ethiopian Honey Bread, Lentils, and Ethiopian Punch. We spent nearly 5 hours in the kitchen but it was well worth it. There isn't an Ethiopian restaurant here in Boone so we decided to try it ourselves. Great way to spend time with the kids.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Congrats to the families who received referrals today. It's nice to see that the list is finally on the move again. Meanwhile, we continue to wait for our little Nyah.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One Month Waiting for Nyah

It has been one month since our family was placed on the
waiting list. We think about and pray for Nyah every day.
Although we don't know who she is yet, she has already
become part of our family. Nikolaus bought her a small
blanket and her first stuffed animal for Christmas this year and will tell anyone who will listed about his sister that is waiting for us....
We also pray for her family and the difficult decisions they
will be struggling with in the coming months. We ask God to grant them peace, patience, strength, health, and safety.

Haiti Needs Help

The orphans of Haiti need help. Please pray that all those adoptive families who have been waiting to take their children home are united with them soon. Most of the paperwork has been buried or destroyed and these families may have to start over and/or face substantial delays. It is unimaginable to think about the number of children who survived the earthquake but have lost their families. Our family is praying daily that God will grant them all patience, peace, health, and safety.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas in Ethiopia

Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. It is a day when families attend church.

The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn, everyone dresses in white. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. Urban Ethiopians might put on white Western garb. Then everyone goes to the early mass at four o'clock in the morning. In a celebration that takes place several days later, the priests will dress in turbans and red and white robes as they carry beautifully embroidered fringed umbrellas.

Most Ethiopians who live outside the modern capital city, Addis Ababa, live in round mud-plastered houses with cone-shaped roofs of thatched straw. In areas where stone is plentiful, the houses may be rectangular stone houses. The churches in Ethiopia echo the shape of the houses. In many parts of the country there are ancient churches carved out of solid volcanic rock. Modern churches are built in three concentric circles.

In a modern church, the choir assembles in the outer circle. Each person entering the church is given a candle. The congregation walks around the church three times in a solemn procession, holding the flickering candles. Then they gather in the second circle to stand throughout the long mass, with the men and boys separated from the women and girls. The center circle is the holiest space in the church, where the priest serves Holy Communion.

Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.

The foods enjoyed during the Christmas season include wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs as well. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.

Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas.

The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Church officials called dabtaras study hard to learn the musical chants, melekets, for the ceremony.

Ethiopian men play another sport called yeferas guks. They ride on horseback and throw ceremonial lances at each other.

Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Travel

Well..... finally home from a long Christmas visit with family. We put on over 2000 miles in less than 10 days. Next year... we are flying. Had a wonderful visit with family and friends. The boys always love to visit with their aunts, uncles, and cousins. Hopefully next year we will have a new addition to the family to introduce. Thank you to all of you who have contributed to the adoption fund. We are slowly moving toward our goal. Have a wonderful 2010.