Monday, December 1, 2008

Congratulations, Winters!

Words really can't express how happy we are for the Winters and today being (FINALLY) the day that they have passed court. They are officially and once and for all the parents of a beautiful little boy we had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with in Ethiopia - Eli Abdulshikur! This 'passage' is especially heartfelt for us because we were placed on the waiting list on the same day as the Winters, both for infants of either gender. And we received our referrals for Noah Arone & Eli Abdulshikur one day apart. We haven't let a day go by where we didn't look at Noah and think about how grateful we are to have him, and also how tough it must be for them, and have been for them as the days passed and they still didn't have Eli. It's been over 250 days since those referrals! And Rebecca has still continued to visit our blog, leave sweet comments and stay positive through the whole thing. I have no idea if I could have been as strong, I only know that she is my hero for her grace, and I'm so happy that TODAY she is finally, officially Eli's MOM!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy 60th, Uncle Rick!


Noah and his family wish to wish GREAT Uncle Rick a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! Uncle Rick is one of Formerly Almost Mom's most faithful readers, and we could not let today go by without wishing him all the best and everything happy! We look forward to seeing you and celebrating next week!

And a Happy Birthday (one day belated) to another GREAT Uncle Ron, Rick's older brother, who celebrated 61 just yesterday. I didn't know my Grandma, but now that I'm a Mom to 1 little boy, I know that in her short life, she must have been BUSY!

Off to Illinois on Sunday with Noah - we have a plane flight alone together because Anil has to join us a few days later due to his work schedule. This should be interesting - I can say without a doubt, that I can't wait to GET THERE!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At the beach waiting for Mimi

Here are some photos I took this weekend of Noah Arone at the beach...he now LOVES the sand and had so much fun running around on it that I told Anil that we need to take him there every weekend from now on! Last time we went he wasn't loving it but as we've learned by having the little dude around, these things can change in an instant!

Now the only thing he needs is his sweet new friend Mimi to be there with him, and life will be swell! We are beyond excited for Heather and Chris who leave today for Ethiopia. Stay tuned to their blog where I will hopefully be adding updates while they are on their amazing journey!

Surf's up!

Monday, November 3, 2008

CELEBRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's going to be an AMAZING WEEK - starting NOW!! Mimi is coming home!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out HERE!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!



Noah went as a 'Roo because his favorite thing to do is jump! These are some photos for the week - he had a Halloween shirt for every day leading up, and actually, not one but two costumes for trick or treating. Costume # 2 will be revealed shortly. He loved being a 'Roo, couldn't get enough of himself! And the ladies at daycare ate it up too - he was pretty cuddly!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

After much ado...


Our awesome friends, Chris & Heather, got a COURT DATE for their little girl. There's going to be some CELEBRATION happening this weekend. BEST NEWS EVER! Congrats, guys!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Click for a laugh!

Only IF you're not offended by bras and 'burps', click here:
From GmaGpaLaura908

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy 10 Months, Noah Arone!



Pretty wild to think that Noah is already 10 months old, and that we met him exactly 5 months ago today. So we have now known him as long as we didn't, and yet it all seems so timeless and though these dates are just interesting numbers and factoids for us, we did reflect today on how amazing it's been, how amazing it is, and how incredible our experiences (the good the bad and the ugly) are these days with Noah around.

He's a riot - he is smiling, giggling, laughing, screaming, whining, crying, crawling, standing, even walking now (he's up to 20 steps before crashing!)...oh, and talking his little words that only he understands...oh, and jumping like a mad man, he freaks all of the ladies out at day care, they can't believe it...oh, and singing! He has started to try to sing along with me when I bust into a little song I wrote called "Nobe, Nobe-No" (his nickname is Nobe) to the tune of "Strangers in the Night"...I have sung it to him since the day we met, and now he is singing along. That's probably my most precious moment of late, and there are many.

Nobe is keeping himself and his mom & dad (and Grandma & Grandpa O and Auntie L who paid him another visit last week) very busy - he's a mover and a shaker. We're just doing our best to keep up!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Think I'll go to Boston...


Heading to Boston on a business trip next week for 3 whole days...not looking forward to my first (and hopefully) last trip away from my boys. I'll try to make the best of it. If any of you are in the area, drop me a line. I'm there Sept 9-11.

Our little man is doing really well...lots of energy so it's nonstop action in our house. And just when we think we couldn't possibly love him more, we do.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Slam Dunk

Noah turned 9 months yesterday, on our 4 year anniversary! Anil was crazy sick all day and night so we are saving the celebration for next week when we are all 100% - but we didn't let the day go by without being grateful for what we have - we've come a long way, baby.

Tonight Noah decided to show off his standing skills for the camera. And then he and dad shot some hoops. The last pic is actually a solo slam dunk by our little man. Dad wasn't there to witness it, but I caught it on film!

Monday, August 18, 2008

BIG NEWS!

If you haven't already, go check out the CELEBRATION going on over at Heather & Chris' camp. We are thrilled for them. Here are a few photos from our little celebration that night. I think it's fair to say from these photos that they are going to be AMAZING parents. Words can't describe how HAPPY we are for our dear friends!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

ALOHA!

Hawaiian Day this past Friday at the Y...I was so excited because I learned of it on Thursday night (I probably missed the memo) and just happen to have purchased a tropical shirt for Noah Arone from BabyGap a few months back (on sale) which he had only worn one time...now that's luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Real Post


It's been a while since I've posted thoughts, a real post, like I did back in the day, not so long ago that feels like forever ago when we were pushing through all the paperwork, waiting for one thing or another, and ultimately the referral of our incredible little man, Noah Arone. So much has happened since then, our guy has grown. At 8 1/2 months, he's standing now (with the help of any found object), crawling like a mad man, and smiling, giggling, talking (da-da and ba-ba mostly)...he's found his way into our hearts and into the hearts of our extended family and friends. He holds a special place there for all of us, and it's truly something amazing to be a part of.

Anil and I were just discussing how he has a few special lady friends in particular who seem to ask about him all the time. There are the ones we know about - Gaby, my friend Amy's little girl, who goes to the same day care and apparently constantly asks to go see her lil brother, 'baby Noah'...Marlie, Julie's little beauty, who is betrothed to him and asks about him when he pops up on her mom's computer screen, and Arianna, his cousin, who we miss already from this weekend and who always wants to know 'why' baby Noah is doing this or that or the other thing - she's a very curious little lady. Then there are the ones we discover daily, like Lisa's little girl, Eva, who we met this weekend and who apparently talks about him as though they are friends, because his picture is on their refrigerator from a 'thank you' card we sent, and she's never even met him. And finally, there are the little girls that are on their way, our friends Heather & Chris' little girl, whom we should find out about ANY DAY NOW (darnit!), and Natalie & Dominic's cutiepie, who shouldn't be too far behind, and Julie O's little girl, who should arrive soon after, all from Ethiopia. He will have no shortage of girls to teach him how to be a courteous, respectful, real man. It's going to be so fun to see him grow up - but we're not rushing it!

Noah has heard a few times the inevitable 'you sure are a lucky boy' comment. And although I know that when it's said, people mean well, I shiver every time and want to refute back - no, WE are the lucky ones. WE are. We are the ones who have the good fortune of raising this adorable little dude, who has brought an immense amount of joy into our lives. We're the ones who have the privilege of raising this child from the beautiful country of Ethiopia - and all the while being enriched with this deep and rich culture and the amazing people we have met in country and here through our incredible journey. If anyone is lucky, it is us.

But as I'm thinking about it, it may be that 'luck' has very little to do with it, in my eyes. All of this just feels so right, so perfectly in line with what is meant to happen, so natural and organic and unquestionable. It may just be more like fate than luck. So although I do feel like I've just won the lottery every day when I look into little Noah's eyes, I'm not sure it's luck for either of us.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

East Coast Style *with Updated Photos

Made it across the country this morning on a redeye to introduce Noah to Anil's side of our incredible family - we are having an absolute blast and he is loving his Grandma, Grandpa, Aunties, Uncles and Cousins, Arianna and Jayan - the three of them make quite a team. And WE are loving Grandma's homecooked Indian food - mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

UPDATED WITH ALL PHOTOS FROM THIS WEEKEND...!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Teeth!

You don't have to look too closely to see those 2 little tooths popping out down below - it's got to be one of the most adorable things I've ever seen!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4th of July Photos


Just a few (hundred) photos from our 4th of July weekend in Illinois. Had a great time introducing Noah to Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and great Friends. My parents had t-shirts made with his picture on it and also managed to acquire more toys at their house for Noah to play with than I would have thought possible - buses, horses, pianos, drums, ride-ons, teething animals, slides, links, swings and even a sit-n-spin. It was a regular romper room and he enjoyed every single toy (at least once). And he LOVED the fireworks - was fascinated by the lights and sounds. An awesome weekend! Next up we go to the East Coast to introduce him to Anil's family - can't wait!

We're back in CA and Noah started daycare this week - Monday was incredibly hard but now it's Wednesday and already getting better. He seems to love it there and as long as he's having a blast, who am I to complain! I sure miss him though. Work is keeping Anil and I very busy during the day, and we are making the most of our nights and weekends with the little man. So life's good!

And a shout out to all those waiting (and wondering) families out there - I know it's so difficult and we are thinking of you all every day! I have a feeling many of your waits are *almost* over! Wishing you all good things!

Friday, June 27, 2008

An Essay



This is an essay I wrote recently. More dramatic than you will usually hear from me, but thought I'd share it here...

Almost Astounding

Having just returned home from Ethiopia, the weight of the experience has been heavy at times and at other times, light and just chalk full of all sorts of mixed emotions that boil down to hope, sadness, longing, and love. While we were there, along with meeting our adopted son for the first time, we visited several of the state run orphanages One institution struck me in particular – an older boys orphanage, where boys who have ‘aged out’ of the adoption system reside. There are young boys living there from the age of 14 and up – some smart, full of life and attending school: trying to turn a desperate situation into something positive and some who have lost hope.

Getahun, a young boy who falls into the optimistic category made a special impression on me, right away upon entering the grounds. He was one of two boys (out of 160) who was in the room they call the library, one of the nicer rooms at the facility with aqua blue walls and a few tables and chairs, studying his books – going against the grain of the day and tackling his schoolwork. As soon as we walked in the door, he approached us and greeted us politely. There was a group of about 8-10 of us Americans there invading his space, and he was kind to us all. He was serene and had such a peaceful spirit; it was almost astounding to see here.

As we walked around the campus, we spoke to Getahun about his aspirations, his dreams, and his knowledge of Ethiopia and the small town of Nazareth, where our son was born. What struck me more than his intelligence, mastery of the English language and kindness, was the deepness of his soul. I could feel the depth of his experience, his past in my core and yet it was a light, almost uplifting feeling that prevailed. This is the heavy/light phenomenon I grew familiar with while I was there.

As our trip to visit the boys grew to a close and we had to say goodbye to our new friends, I noticed Getahun’s shirt and I told him that I ‘liked it.’ Well the truth is I had noticed it right away when we met him – it was a bright, vibrant, turquoise color with some beautiful and colorful embroidery work on it. Quite an uplifting shirt for such a potentially dark situation. It looked so nice on him. So I let him know.

My husband I returned from Ethiopia just over a month ago, with our incredible son and a whole lot of change in perspective. So much about this trip blew us away…not the least of which was this orphanage and these boys – their ability to somehow make us feel hopeful as we stare at their stark circumstances. They gave us so much.

And then the most amazingly intense thing happened. A few days ago, a package arrived in the mail addressed to me from an adoptive family that had traveled after us and visited the boys at the same orphanage. It was sent from Getahun. And it was his shirt.

He gave me the shirt off his back, out of nowhere, so unexpected. I have a hard time putting this experience into words. I only know that it was a beautiful, simple and peaceful thing for him to have done – and that it’s not about the shirt. It's about the gift of friendship, the irony and the small worldness of it all. Getahun’s shirt represents his soul: bright and colorful, rich and glorious, passionate and peaceful, magical and light.




Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Meeting Abe



Noah and Abe met last week - what fun they had. I also got to meet Abe's mom, Lori, and that was a treat as well - since she had met Noah Arone in Ethiopia, for the 3 of them, it was a reunion. She was so good with the kids, since I had the camera in front of my face most of the time, she played with them and asked Abe where Noah's ears, eyes and nose were (smart little guy, he knew!). Noah was obsessed with Abe and everything he did, and most especially his beautiful curly head of hair. I tried to narrow down the photos to a few, but they were all too cute so I gave up. Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Been too long...

and still so little time to write...so I'll just share some photos for now of the last few weeks.

Life is swell. One more week with Noah before heading back to work. Going to try to enjoy every moment. And I'll try to share more pictures of that enjoyment and some more stories that I've been wanting to share this week too. So stay tuned!

Some Photos


Oh, AND believe it or not, of all things, Noah learned the "da" syllable this weekend, just in time for Father's Day. Pretty incredible to pick him up from a nap and walk him in to change his diaper on the eve of Father's Day, only to hear him spouting over and over again "da-da" "da-da" "da-da-da-da"...Anil tries to pretend his heart isn't melting because of it, but I can see the goo-goo-goo. Adorable. I've tried to get video but as you can tell from his photos, he's a little camera shy. So also coming soon, I hope. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meet the Parents



Finally, my post about meeting Julie and her family...you know, Julie with the 2 snakes, 3 kittens, 2 fish and 2 bunnies that lives in the purple house and has 3 of the most adorable children I've ever met, the youngest of whom she has already made arrangements for to wed our son. And boy, would he be a lucky dude if that actually happens!!

The first slideshow above shows some candids that were taken with my sister's camera including shots of Marlie and Noah's getting to know you sessions where she would point at him and say 'baby Noah' and near the end of our visit, she was comparing their feet which was ADORABLE. Also in this slideshow are a series of photos of Noah laughing himself silly at Marshall, Julie's husband and a fine man, who had him spinning out of control with drool and giggles, hysterical. And of course the always funny faces of Seamus and Haven, to top things off. Such cool cats, those two.

We had a blast with them as usual and Marshall took some incredible shots of Noah and our family - the guy has got skills. If you haven't seen his photography blog, go now. I've included a slideshow below of a few of the pics he took while we were there; but I'm holding off on several of them because we *may* be using them for a card we're creating at the moment to send to family and friends.

Suffice to say, it was quite a treat for Noah to meet his potential future in-laws and potential future bride. Love was in the air, I know that much.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Noah is 6 months today!





Hard to believe we met him just one month ago today...although at times it feels like we just got back yesterday, we feel like we've known this little guy forever. It's just been nothing short of amazing what we've been through and what we continue to go through every day. I don't want to be one of those moms that claims that everything is peachy and perfect and my kid is peachy and perfect, we have our bad days. But even the bad days are just so awesome because we are parents, and Noah Arone is our son. And that is an unspeakably perfect thing!

Meeting Julie and family coming soon...had to share these things on his 1/2 birthday!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gladney Caregivers and a few more things on Ethiopia



The caregivers at the Gladney Center really love and care for the children. It's a beautiful and overwhelming thing to see. I've posted here only photos of some of these amazing women with Noah Arone but I have many others of them loving lots of other babies...it's just safer to only post these for now. Anyway, just wanted to share how cool it was to see such love pouring out of these ladies for these kids...many of the caregivers were orphaned themselves as children, so they understand firsthand what it is like for these children and there is something about that that just can't be overlooked - it clearly makes a world of difference when you see the affection and genuine love, compassion and attachment between them. It's a beautiful thing.

Also, I remembered a few other little tidbits of info on Ethiopia to share. First off, Sprite was my best friend while we were there. Whenever I could find it, I would drink it because it helped to settle my ill feelings from the car rides and the diesel smell that overwhelmed me at times. It's not always available at the restaurants but when it is, if you're feeling queezy at all, drink it!

And when you hear an Ethiopian sound like they are gasping for air suddenly, that means 'yes'...this threw me off for a while at first as I wondered why everyone seemed to be surprised all the time, but once I learned that the gasp is their version of 'yea' or 'uhuh', I thought it was so cool, and even started gasping myself in agreement on things. It's literally just a quick and subtle inhale with a slightly audible gasp, so look out for it. Solomon, one of the drivers, does it a lot, I think because he is just so agreeable. I still do it here at home with our little guy and he loves to hear it.

On that note, one thing I wish I had done more of but am glad I did a little of, is pick up some of the sounds and mannerisms of the caregivers at the Gladney Center. I think it has really helped with Noah's adjustment to his new life, to still be able to hear me mimic some of the sounds he was used to hearing - things like the way they say his name and little 'baby talk' phrases you will hear when you are there. Just food for thought...

Happy Memorial Day weekend...stay tuned, my next post is going to be about Noah Arone meeting the Julie and family...with some fun photos too!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Meeting Grandma & Grandpa O


I have been remiss in my postings as of late. As a first-time mom of a very energetic, playful, happy baby, it's been tough to write and share all that I have wanted to as quickly as I'd like to. I still plan to post more on Ethiopia and our time there and hope to share much more info and photos and video as soon as I get the chance. But this post, this post is dedicated to Noah Arone's meeting his wonderful G'ma & G'pa O...my parents! They were technically here before Auntie L and as I said, things may be a bit out of order here for a while.

Nonetheless, G'ma and G'pa O were here just a few days after we arrived back home from Ethiopia. Noah took to them right away and we all had a fantastic time together. My dad hung up a few of the things we brought back from Ethiopia, fixed our front gate, helped prepare a car we are selling and still managed to make "Noah-roni" as he calls him laugh and smile quite often with his silliness. My mom just loved to glide with him and hold him close, and she also helped me organize all of his cute little clothes in his closet. It was so awesome to see them with him. Our first child, their first grandchild, and as you can see, happiness abounds.

Even the ladies working at baggage claim took time to come over and meet Noah. That was super sweet and he loved it. My mom got here just in time for Mother's Day, so we gave her a pretty Grandma locket with Noah and of course, George's photo in it. It was a fantastic Mother's Day, with my mom, as a mom, hangin' with the boys. Nothing but good times.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Latest and Greatest Noah Shots



Photos of meeting Auntie L and just some really cute pics from the past week...and don't let the nebulizer photos scare you. He has to get these treatments for a little while due to an upper respiratory infection. Luckily, he has learned to like them or at least tolerate them. And as you can see, no infection or much of anything else can get this little guy down! More later..

Friday, May 16, 2008

Food

A genius with the spoon already...
I'm jumping around here but this was too funny not to post.



Don't give up on me. I will post more about Ethiopia and our experiences thus far...just trying to catch up on life. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leprosy Hospital


One of our favorite stops, the National Leprosy Hospital, the only one in Ethiopia.


And the best place to buy gifts - all made by the patients with proceeds going to the hospital. Don't miss it if you are going!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ethiopia & Travel Tips


What a journey...we are happy to be home and settling in with mr. noah arone and we are THRILLED to have had the chance to spend 9 days and 9 nights in his home country, Ethiopia. Anil and I had an incredible time and though the trip was challenging in a lot of ways, merely because life there is so completely different from what we are used to so we were out of our comfort zone, we actually enjoyed the challenge. And we find that starting out our days as parents in a country, our son's country, where we had to think before we did just about anything, is a really cool way to begin. Now we take so much less for granted here at home, in Santa Monica, where we have so much. Our gratitude and humility grew by leaps and bounds after visiting our son's home country, and seeing all of the beautiful, happy people there. I am so happy that we were able to spend a good amount of time in Ethiopia, and I would not trade that experience for the world. I can't wait til my son is older and I can tell him all about the trip and share the photos and stories of everything we did and saw. It's absolutely mind blowing and forever changed us, just as I suspected it would. We look at life a lot differently now, and although we haven't had much time yet to really think things through and process it all and figure out what's next for our journey in life, we know that we will never be the same. And that's a very good thing.

I was in awe of the city, everywhere I turned I saw something that just moved me - whether it was a man sitting on the eucalyptus tree limbs that they use for scaffolding there (scary!) or a donkey carrying concrete bricks filled with heavier loot piled on top of them or a child begging through our car window for some change to eat - I was in complete and utter awe and wonder, trying to absorb it all. My life is much richer than it was before, and the path of this life has never felt more in sync and right on. We are incredibly fortunate and just blissful to be a family, to have traveled across the world to this amazing place to meet our son and bring him home and to have him here in our arms, right now. Unreal, surreal yet very very REAL.

A few families waiting to go meet their babies have asked for advice on travel. I am more than happy to give it. My advice may be different from others so take it for what it's worth. And please don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them. Again, these are only my opinions but happy to share. Here are some of the questions I've received and my best answers. I will post more about things as I think of them.

-What type of bottles did you bring? What type of bottles do they use there?
We brought Playtex Drop-ins...I plan to use the Born Free bottles back here in the U.S. but the drop-in system was ultra convenient for Ethiopia because you only have to wash the nipple and the rim really, and since you are using boiled or bottled (or in our case because we're paranoid, BOTH) water to clean them each time, it's nice to have less to clean. I don't know what type they were using at the care center, but they were not drop-ins. These kids do not appear to be fussy eaters though, give them food/formula, and they will take it down. They are fed, WELL, and I don't see it being a problem for you to use whatever bottle you'd like.

-How many diapers did you bring for each day? What size did you bring?
The Gladney travel packet says 10 per day. I think we used more and the Roberts, who we shared the Ayat House with, used less. I'd play it safe and go for 12 a day, but I'm crazy like that. I brought some Size 1 and some Size 2 and for Arone, they both worked. He's 5 months and weighs about 14 pounds. I have heard that if in between, go for the bigger, because they can hold more, well, you know...

-Size-should I get one of those on the bed, folding bassinet things? Do you think Abe would benefit from one of those?
We brought the Eddie Bauer folding travel bed since we were sharing the house and there was only one crib. I found it to be handy. Truthfully, we ended up putting him in it between us on the bed, because the first night we tried the floor and he didn't like it much. But it was nice to have so when we all fell asleep at the same time, we didn't have to worry about him rolling off the bed. I'd say if your baby is 5 months or under or a small 6-7 month, it's a good thing to bring. Much bigger than he was though and it might feel too confining.

-Anything you wish you would have brought? Anything you didn't need?
The only thing we didn't bring that I wish we had was sore throat medicine. Anil got a pretty bad one and none of the pharmacies we went to had a thing for it. Tafessa, the coordinator and one of the drivers (and a SUPER COOL human being I might add) took me to 4 or 5 pharmacies to check for anything, because he was in such bad shape, and we struck out. So any medicine you think you might possibly need, take. Also, I'm sure most of you realize this, but there is a decent chance you won't get your luggage right away, so try to pack the bare necessities including a change of clothes, underwear, and main toiletries/medicines in one of your carry-ons. And also be careful to keep your carry-ons to the necessary size/weight limits if you can. This will be a challenge but if you can, it's best. Otherwise, they may end up asking you to check it and then you lose your emergency stash. This didn't happen to us and we definitely had one piece that was over the limit, but it did happen to another family we were traveling with. Luckily for them, it arrived on time. We didn't have 3 of the 5 pieces we checked for half the trip.

I'm very happy I brought my laptop and a few memory cards and I have to say, my Flip Video camera. If you haven't seen these things, they are very small digital video cameras that take 30 or 60 minutes worth of footage and have a USB plug built right into them so you can download your clips easily and as often as you need to. This allowed me to get some really great videos of a bunch of scenery, scenes and gorgeous babies. And it takes up almost no space or weight at all. Occasionally I only brought the Flip and not my big camera along in an attempt to travel lighter.

Things I wish I hadn't bothered to bring - I can't think of much specifically. But I did learn that you can live on much less than you think if you have to...so if we go again, I will pack much less clothing and toiletries for us and make more room for the humanitarian aid. And I will leave the hairdryer at home. They are hard to use unless you are staying at the major hotels because of the voltage required, and in the end, I didn't much care what my hair looked like there anyway, as evidenced by photos. :)

-Did you bring any rice cereal? Do they eat that at the care center?
I didn't bring any rice cereal because they were still feeding Arone strictly formula and I didn't want to change his diet on the trip. I'm going to start him on cereal this week though, as our pediatrician said it's okay to do so. I would definitely try to find out what they are feeding your babes and mimic that for the trip. I don't know what they feed them when they start them on solids. It looked pretty pasty though, but the kids seemed to like it.

-Do all of the babies use a pacifier? Are they latex or silicone or something else?
They said that they stopped the use of pacifiers at the care center because as they were passed around, so was a lot of infection and illness. So they nixed them. We brought a few along just in case, and because our baby is such a sucker :), he took them just fine and they came in handy.

-Am I going to have a nervous breakdown while packing?
NO. Don't worry too much. Ask for help when necessary and trust your instincts. You will have what you need or you will make do. Just make sure when you get there to stop off and get a ton of bottled water. I drank it like it was going out of style. It's important because it's so easy to get dehydrated there. Plus you'll need it to wash bottles and brush your teeth.

-What are the most essential things you packed to take along with you, that were really really useful - couldn't have done with out, etc.?
The most essential things were the burp cloths (prefold cloth diapers are great all-purpose cloths), bottles (bring at least 6, mostly because of the plane rides), TOILET PAPER (or kleenex travel packs - have it with you everywhere you go, most bathrooms don't come equipped with TP), a small set of toiletries in the carry-on...definitely check the travel packet from Gladney, most of that stuff is good to have along. Also good to have a baseball cap to throw your hair in a ponytail underneath and go.

-What did you take along that you would say you didn't need to pack, just took up space, not really a necessity?
See above answer. I'll try to think of more and write again if/when I do.

-Is there anything you didn't take that you wish you would have?
Again, sore throat/cough medicine. Bring that and plenty of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. And baby medicine too, whatever your pediatrician recommends. Mine gave us a big list of stuff, if anyone wants me to send it to them, I can. I also took Lori's advice on the Boudreaux's Baby Kisses and that came in handy for the dry lips and cheeks on our little man.

-What ideas do you have for gifts for the caregivers? We were thinking of cash, but worry it is too impersonal. And then, what ideas do you have for gifts for Travis and Joanna, Belay?

We gave cash because Anil's sister organized a donation drive unbeknownst to us to raise money for these ladies who work so hard and give such love to these children. I also left a bunch of sample products for them to share. It's tough because there are so many caregivers. And usually your baby will have had a few 'special' caregivers who mostly looked after them, so you might want to consider bringing a 'special' gift for 3 or 4 if you are so inclined. Try to find out from Sister (the nurse at the centers) who the 'special mother' and other main caregivers were before you hand them out. :)

For Travis & Joanna, we took the Lydicks advice and got them some hot sauce, tea, chocolate and bbq sauce. I think they would appreciate just about anything, they are very cool peeps. And their kids are just awesome. I miss them. We gave Belay some really nice tea as well. I had a hard time thinking of anything else for him. He has a great sense of humor, so maybe something funny?

-Did you work with a travel agent - one recommended in the travel packet perhaps, or did you kind of just figure out travel on your own?
We did work with a travel agent - Susan Parr travel. I found it to be helpful to have someone handle our travel who does it all the time, especially when booking the ticket for Noah to come back with us. For instance, they knew that we needed to book his ticket under his Ethiopian name, then my husband's first name, and then his last. So if you do book on your own, don't book your baby's return flight with his American name. It won't work because that is not what will be on his passport and visa.

As I think of more, I will continue to write my thoughts. I hope this has been somewhat helpful. And again, just my opinions and take on things, for what it's worth.

Oh, one other thing, the diesel fuel smell in the city can get very overwhelming at times. I'm not sure if there's anything to do about it, but it may be worth looking into something homeopathic or anything that might help you to cope with the air.

Other than that, it's a beautiful place with a sight to see at every turn. Try to enjoy it and go with the flow while you're there. Absorb the culture and the people, it's so worth it. And go with the flow is probably some of the best advice I got before we left from Mary at Gladney. Schedules and plans change there pretty often - time sort of stands still there which is great but makes planning much looser so as she said, just be ready for anything and try not to stress about things and you will have an incredibly cool time. Take it all in, get as much rest as you can, and have fun!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dreamland



I'm going way out of order here but I just wanted to post something uplifting tonight. These photos were shot on our way to one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to - Dreamland - which is about an hour and a half outside of Addis Ababa. It is a restaurant with a gorgeous view of Ethiopia's first crater lake. I didn't quite get the whole idea behind a crater lake but I think it's something about this mountain was a volcano and is now a serene and lovely lake in a mountain. Just awesome.

We had a great dinner there that night with Belay, one of the families we had traveled with and 2 additional families who had just arrived and met their babies. It was a blast. And funny to be the 'experts' at the whole parenting in Ethiopia dilemna, after 9 days on the job. This was our last night in Addis, and what a way to spend it. Breathtaking.

Pretty much right now we feel like we are living in Dreamland...things are not perfect. Noah Arone fusses, cries and poops...and sometimes he does more than his fair share of each of these things and makes no apologies. BUT he is the single most amazing thing that has ever happened to us. And if I didn't know this was all real, I would say it's a dream. It's that good. Crazy good.

Kolfe Boys


Since I had sent that one photo of Noah Arone and I with a few of the boys from the Kolfe Orphanage, I thought I better start with that since there have already been questions about the picture. This is a slideshow of the photos we took while visiting this orphanage. It's an orphanage in Addis Ababa for older boys, many of whom have 'aged out' of the adoptive system (maximum adoptable age is 14) so this is their home, until and unless they are able to find jobs and move elsewhere. Several of these boys are in school, a few of them are studying very hard. The blue room shown is their study room.

I'm still absorbing everything from the trip, and this is one of those things I just can't put into words. These boys have so little. And yet the ones we spoke to seemed full of hope. They were very smart and spoke good English and all were attending university, pursuing careers in everything from natural sciences to law. Not all the boys are this hopeful and ambitious but they are all full of life.

The photo I had sent Laura previously is probably the worst room we saw at Kolfe, so I wanted to quickly share the others. I'm trying to think of a way to make these kids lives better somehow. I know many others are also finding a way to help. I'll start by sending a few of these photos back for the boys we met. This small effort can mean the world to these boys. We have seen how they react when receiving a letter or photo. It's a tiny effort for us and just makes their day.

Much more to come...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

HOME




We made it!! Home at last...and very happy to be. Noah Arone seems to be adjusting quite well so far, based on the amount of sleeping he has been doing. Very peaceful. I need to go to sleep as well since I am literally falling over with exhaustion at the moment. Wanted to let everyone know that I have many stories and photos to share in the coming weeks. And that I am so grateful for my sister for keeping up the blog while we were away and couldn't access it. Thanks, sis. I think you just might take the cake for BEST AUNTIE L EVER! Noah can't wait to meet you next weekend. And thanks for the warm welcome HOME, Chris & Heather, Shannon, Liz and Crystal. That meant the world to us. We love you guys!!!!

More, much more tomorrow and beyond...

And so happy to hear about the flood of referrals while we were gone. Email me if you received one because it's likely that I have a photo or two of your baby! I think I took pics of almost every one. I couldn't help myself. They are all beautiful and the caregivers loved posing with them. Super sweet. :)

If you asked me to take photos for you, I have and I will hopefully get a chance to send tomorrow. For now, must sleep. G'nite!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From the Addis Ababa Airport



"Auntie L" here one last time! I know you thought you wouldn't hear from me again, but Angie sent these about 3 hours ago from the Addis Ababa airport so I had to share! Pay close attention to the 2nd picture, hehe. This is what she had to say . . .

I was able to get a few photos uploaded here at the Addis Ababa airport waiting for our flight home! Hope this will do for now...many, many more pics and stories to come. The last several days became hectic and we weren't able to get to the internet, but here is what we have for now.
love,
angie


I hope you all enjoy and keep up those positive thoughts and prayers as the Kurian's fly home to Washington and on to Santa Monica!!! :)

Bringing Noah HOME



What an amazing journey from March 16, 2008 (hanging out at the pier) to April 28, 2008 (holding Noah in their arms in Addis Ababa)!

Hi everyone, it's "Auntie L"! This should be my last blog for Angie since she will be home tomorrow, yes that's right, tomorrow!! I talked to her this morning and she was frantically packing because they were getting picked up in 2 hours and everything was everywhere! She said to tell everyone she was so excited to get back to Santa Monica to show Noah his room and of course introduce him to his big brother Georgie! Of course we have no pictures, but she promises more pictures than we can imagine and tons of wonderful stories as soon as she gets back!

Last night they went to Dreamland. It is a crater lake that used to be a volcano about an hour from Addis Ababa. They and the family sharing the house with them had dinner with a couple of new families that had just arrived and gotten their babies All she could say was that is was really beautiful and they had a fantastic time!

I guess that is all I know for now! If everything goes as planned, they leave Ethiopia around 10:15pm tonight and arrive in D.C. at 7:55am tomorrow. They have a 4hour lay over and arrive at LAX at 3:05pm. Think lots of positive thoughts and prayers for a safe journey HOME!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Noah Update!

Hi everyone! It's "Auntie L" again! Sorry no pictures this time! Ange sent a quick short email this morning and I wanted to share!

We are having a great day bc we are doing one of my favorite things - SHOPPING!!! We just went to the leprosy hospital where they make all of the crafts by hand and I bought SO MUCH STUFF and it is unbelievably beautiful. I even got to spin the yarn with a sweet lady before hand. This was one of my favorite stops so far -- unbelievably cool. I will have pics to add later. Heading to the marketplace for more shopping in a minute.

Noah Arone is doing great!!! We are super happy (especially now that we're well!)
Love,
Angie, Anil and Noah


Angie says that Noah is very vocal! He is either squealing in delight at just about anything or letting them know he is hungry! My mom was talking to her yesterday and they could hardly hear each other because Noah was squealing so much! Mom says it was a GREAT sound!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More from Ethiopia



Hi everyone! It's "Auntie L" again! I talked to Angie on the phone again this morning and she sounded wonderful! Being a mom is totally agreeing with her. She wanted to send lots more pictures, but the connections was very slow and this was all she could get out! She promised to try to send more in the next couple days if she could get a connection.

The ladies in the first pics are of Noah with his caregivers at the Children's home in an outfit they gave him. The one with long straight hair was Noah's "special mother." Angie said when they arrived at the Children's Home for the coffee ceremony all of the ladies swarmed them and shouted "Arone!" They all wanted to have a picture of them with hugging Noah, kissing Noah, smiling with Noah, etc. Angie said she has tons of pictures with Noah and the caregivers because the ladies loved Noah Arone and couldn't get enough.

Oh, and GREAT news . . . they stopped by the airport and Anil went to check on their missing bags. At first they said that none had arrived and then he asked if they were sure and they found 2 of their bags. One had all of their other personal items, more clothes, etc. for all three of them and the other was a humanitarian aid bag. Now they are only missing one humanitarian aid bag and they are determined to get it!

On a side note, Angie said to tell you she has tons of great photos and videos of the other Gladney babies and can't wait to share them with you when she gets home next week!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Magnificent



I talked to Angie for about 10 minutes this morning which was 2:10pm Ethiopia time and she said that Noah is Magnificent!! Angie also said she LOVES Ethiopia! When I called, Anil actually picked up the phone first and just sounded beyond happy! He was walking around with a sleeping Noah in the Bjorn! She promised to email as much as she can, but said it is not very easy or convienent to do! I will of course keep you updated anytime I hear from Angie. The proud parents have close to 300 hundred pics, but of course this is all she could send this time. The following is what she said in the email . . .

Here are a few pics I was able to download from our first day with Noah. We are having a great time, loving every minute of it. And Noah Arone is just magnificent! Can't wait for you all to meet him! Ethiopia rocks, but not for internet service!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Noah Arone is in Our arms in Addis

Hi everyone! It's Auntie L, Angie's sister again! We just recieved this email from Angie about 15 minutes ago. I know you are all anxiously awaiting information just like I was!! I would have been happy if they said, "We're here, Noah's Awesome," but we got a whole lot more! Enjoy! :)


We arrived safely in Addis Ababa last night safe and sound. Unfortunately, only 2 of our 5 bags made it here with us. But nothing could ruin the excitement and anticipation of meeting Noah Arone...and we have! This morning, after a night's sleep (what little we could get anyway) and after a full breakfast of french toast and oatmeal, we went to the Gladney Care Center and waited for sweet Joanna to bring down our sweet little boy. He is everything we dreamed he'd be and more. Beautiful, HAPPY, engaged, mellow, sweet, and ours! We are so happy to be with Mr. Happy. I wish we could send photos but we have not yet found an internet cafe that is able to email pictures. We will - I am determined before we leave! Hopefully tomorrow.

For now, wanted to let you all know we made it and we are having the best time. The other families here are wonderful too and the people of Ethiopia are friendly, warm and love babies! Noah woke up from a little nap early this afternoon so that we could come to this internet spot and he was crying a bit...Anil took him downstairs to the car while I packed our things. As soon as he got downstairs, the crying stopped. I got down there to find our driver holding Noah, and Anil said he stopped his crying instantly.

Tonight will be our first night together as a family. We will write again tomorrow if we can to let you know how it goes. :) We think it will go great!

We are hoping to get our bags on a flight that comes in tomorrow. All we can do is cross our fingers. Thanks to heather's amazing packing skills, we did get the bag with our clothes and Noah's, so at least we got the most important one!

My mom just talked to Angie and she said everything is GREAT!!! And that Anil is SUPER DAD!!! As Angie and my mom were talking she said Noah was enjoying his pacifier and just looking up at his mommy!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

25% Complete



Hi! This is Auntie L, Angie's sister!

I talked to Angie three hours ago and she said to let you all know that they had completed 25% of their journey to Noah! She was on the plane at 8:00pm Eastern time prepared for a close to on time departure at 8:30pm! They are scheduled to arrive in Addis Ababa at 7pm Sunday night, which is 11am Sunday morning Central time!

Just think, right now they are probably flying over the Atlantic Ocean! Angie or I will keep you updated during their time in Ethiopia!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Less than 24 Hours...way less...



Thought I'd post this pic because it is the very first one we saw of Noah just last month on March 17, St. Pat's Day. And now...

Tomorrow, yes, that's right, tomorrow we leave for Ethiopia to pick up our son! As I write this I am overcome with those ugly cries and sighs of an incredibly happy, excited, nervous, anxious, delirious, hopeful, overwhelmed, elated (still sick) MOM, allowing the reality to set in just for a moment again. This has happened several times today. At Trader Joe's this morning, a little baby girl said 'hello' to me and I started chatting with her. The next thing you know I was chatting with her mom, who had a 2nd baby strapped into her Bjorn who looked to be only a few weeks old. I told her I was leaving TOMORROW to pick up our son from Ethiopia and she was so excited, she started to cry. And then another woman came over and asked all about the adoption and our journey and ended up taking my email because she has a sister who teaches mommy classes. She too was so excited for us. Strangers, ecstatic for us, so wild. I love Trader Joe's.

So I'm just starting to pack. I must be out of my mind. I'm pretty sure I am. I better get back to it. But had to write in for the payoff to say that TOMORROW we leave to pick up our son!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will (believe me) try everything possible to blog from Ethiopia. I hope I can make it work. If not, I will catch up when I return. I hope to hear about a lot more referrals and court dates and successes for those with court dates assigned when I get back! Be well!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Day after Tomorrow







I just can't wait for tomorrow. Because tomorrow I can say that tomorrow we leave to pick up our son! This is so major. Me, a mom. And Anil, a dad. Holding our son for the first time. Making memories in Ethiopia we will never forget. Amazing.

And speaking of amazing, I thought on this day before tomorrow when I can say that tomorrow I am going to Ethiopia, I would share a few photos of the amazing blog book that my sister put together, with the help of my fabulous cousins, Kari, Rachael & Jen. It's a book that documents my blogging from the beginning. Time was taken to cut, paste, print, cut out and decorate each of my posts along the road to Noah, and it's pretty darn cool. They presented it to me at the shower last weekend and I was blown away.

How incredibly great is it that I will have this to remember all my crazy, silly, emotional, anxious, happy, ecstatic, frustrated, longing, excited rants. Blogging for me has turned out to be such an integral part of this whole process. I have loved documenting our journey and sharing information, support and encouragement with other adoption bloggers as well. I know everyone says you give up quite a bit of your privacy to blog, especially in this way, about something so personal, but I think for the community and support that you gain, losing a little privacy is well worth it. And I've never been much of a private person anyway, my heart is always hanging out on my sleeve.

I'm really grateful for so much and so many right now. And I love my new blog book. And I can't wait for tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Noah Photos



The Schumachers and the Albertsons are back from Ethiopia and they were both kind enough to take some fun photos of Noah while they were there and send them to me. Thank you both so much! These photos are priceless.

And one more shout out for anyone who wants photos while we are there next week, please don't hesitate to ask. We're happy to do it!

3 days til we leave and I have come down with something BAD. Going to the doc today to try to whip myself back into shape before we go! Rebecca, you might want to put yourself on standby. This is ugly!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soucys Referral

We are so happy for Chris & Jess Soucy...they just received a referral for a gorgeous little boy!!!!!! Go on over and send them a big CONGRATS!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Family Shower



A fantastic baby shower took place yesterday in honor of Noah...we had a great time. My sister and cool cousins and sweet aunts and mom left no stone unturned in the planning of this celebration. The details were so fun and special. We had a blast!

Candy list altered had to do with the favors, which were bags of candy with a tiny little book dedicated to Noah (pics of that coming, pretty incredible) and a list of the candy with a 'baby meaning' for each piece. AND the colors were about an ink color for the BEAUTIFUL blog book my sister and cousins put together, which they had everyone sign with some sage advice at the shower. It was amazing.

Back to LA tonight to PACK! 5 days til take off!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hmmm...interesting



Sweet, sweet Andrea took time out of her trip to pick up her beautiful daughter to email me this latest photo of Noah Arone. How cool is that? We get to see that toothless smile up close and personal. And did you notice what else is in this photo? That's right, folks, a GIRAFFE! For those of you that remember my giraffe post from back when we were waiting, waiting...I hope you find this as 'interesting' as I do.

We're in IL for my hometown baby shower. It's tomorrow afternoon - I'm super excited! My sister and family have gone to great pains to keep everything completely secret from me. It's pretty hysterical. The only 2 things I know are that it's at Noon and we're having lunch.

Well okay I did see an email to my mom from my sis today when I was on her computer that had the subject "Candy List Altered" and I overheard my sister asking someone on the phone something about the colors green, black and purple. But that's IT. It's been fun taunting her with the little info I have because she gets so upset. Really cute. I'll report back tomorrow on what is sure to be an awesome (and completely surprising) event! I can't wait to find out what this altered candy list is all about...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update



Another update on Noah yesterday - they said his fingers must be made of honey because he always has them in his mouth! And they also said that he has an amazingly peaceful persona...ahhh, music to my ears. I can't wait to meet this lil man and find out what this 'tummy time' stuff is all about...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

GEORGE!






Today is my other son's 5th BIRTHDAY! I could not let this day go by without posting about this special dog. George has been in our lives almost all of his life; in fact, as I'm writing this, I'm realizing he came into our lives at about 4 1/2 months old, just shy of Noah's age when we meet him NEXT WEEK! :)

George has had a great year - he has learned many things, had many happy walks and talks with his dad, and been a very good boy. Highlights of this year include:

1 - he learned to ROLL OVER! We had taught him sit and down early on but had stopped there. Then I guess we thought it was too late after a while, thinking no way to teach an 'old dog new tricks'...well I guess that theory is false, because he loves to roll over now. Albeit, half way, but it's a roll over. And we're proud!

2 - he has become even better at being mr. watch dog...scaring away postmen, delivery boys, skateboarders, bicyclers, and most recently, a thief! Just the other night, Anil woke at 3am to George barking his head off, and he saw a head pass by our window. He thought nothing of it until the next day when we discovered that one of our good softball bats and Anil's favorite glove were missing! That was a major bummer, but I am convinced that George scared them away before they could grab anything else from our backyard or worse yet, try to come inside!

3 - and probably the most profound change for George this year, is that he has slowly started to pick up on the fact that something is changing. He is gaining a little brother named Noah and everything is about to be turned topsy-turvy - he knows this somehow, and he is a little freaked out. All the sudden our place is filled with things for baby, furniture is being moved, boxes unpacked, suitcases packed, cribs and gliders built, and lots of squeals and general hoop-la from mom and dad. He is a little bewildered by it all, no doubt, but he is taking it in stride and we just know that because he is after all the best dog in the world, he will grow to love this new life with his new little friend, Noah.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Georgie! Our lives will never be the same, only richer and more FUN!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Glider, Name Change & Photos Anyone?


We went back and forth on the 'to glide or not to glide' dilemna. It's amazing how many opinions on all this baby stuff there are, and how different they are from one another. But my mom bought us this beautiful glider a few weeks back and we love it! So it is 'to glide' for us! This pic is of the glider in our little nook that we have started to think of as the Noah Nook. It's a beautiful spot in the front of our place, with sunlight for days, as you can see. Some amazing memories will be made here for sure. We can't wait!

Ok so obviously I need to change the name of my blog. I'm having a hard time coming up with something clever and fun so I'm asking for help. If you have any good ideas, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

AND if any Gladney families have referrals or even think they 'might' get a referral while we are in Ethiopia, and you want me to take some photos of your babies, please leave your email here and I'll contact you. You can either mail me a memory card or just let me know who to look for and I'll be sure to get some pics.

I'm going to try to check email at least a few times while we are in Ethiopia so make sure you get my email address if you think there's a chance. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Lori Rooney who was already over there when we got our referral. She took some adorable shots of Noah on one of her last trips to the care center. So awesome! We are HAPPY to do the same for anyone who would like us to.

Hard to comprehend that 2 weeks from today we will be holding our little guy for the first time. Just no way to fully imagine it - we tried this weekend and it was just so overwhelming. I'm trying to stay in the moment and soak in as much as I can as we progress and prepare for his sweet arrival.

** Update - Julie has already won the contest for the name change. I know it might not seem fair since I just started it - but she just knows how much I love the Almost and I must admit, not having to change the blog address is very appealing. In short, she's brilliant! And I'm in a rush with everything right about now. So I'm going with it. BUT Rebecca's idea of Noah's Nook might have to take over when we get back. Love the sound of that too! I love all my brilliant blog pals!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Funny Noises



I find myself making a lot of funny noises lately. I will just be walking along or in the shower or sitting at my desk at work and something will come over me, I'll think of the moment Mary called with news that Noah was our son, or the moment I ran back into the house to tell Anil and we hugged like never before, and I will choke up and a squeal or a gasp or a deep breath with audio will just escape from my mouth before I realize it. It's so strange, and sort of embarrassing. I told Mary on Wednesday when she called that I was discovering sounds I didn't realize were hidden within me. They aren't exactly the most attractive sounds or altogether pleasant to the ear, even my own, but they are chalk full of emotion and glee, that much I know.

Since learning that we had passed court came 2 days ago, we have officially hit whirlwind mode. Nothing could have prepared us for this. We leave to meet our son and bring him home 2 weeks from tomorrow. That is just impossible for me to really comprehend, even though I booked the plane tickets and I continue to feverishly search for an affordable place for us to lay our heads at night.

It's still not sinking in, but slowly, with every gasp and nervous laugh, I am realizing that this is all too real and it's not going away. We have a son. And that is the most brilliant and exhilarating thing that has ever happened to me in my life.

I want to blog more about my LA shower. I just want to document here how phenomenal it was. I'm going to try to get to that this weekend. And of all things, my family is throwing me a shower in IL next weekend. So this weekend is the only one we have to organize and pack – it's going to be pretty intense. But we are so motivated, so ready to be parents, so beside ourselves with excitement, I have no doubt that it will all get done. We are also fortunate enough to have terrific friends willing to help, so life is exceptional and truly, unbelievably good.

I started on his closet last night - cleaned out the mess that was in there and started hanging his little clothes. A labor of love.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No words...



There just are no words to describe what we are feeling right now. Noah Arone is officially our son! It's an indescribable time.

I am so excited to share his photos with everyone! I will share more photos and stories and shower stuff as soon as we get done with the travel arrangements. Looks like we will leave on April 26th to bring our beautiful little guy home for good.

So much gratitude, we are humbled by all of this. We're PARENTS to the most amazing little boy we've ever seen!!! WOW.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Shower!!



Don't have much time...and I will post a lot more photos from the shower (HOPEFULLY tomorrow!) that have a certain little cutie's photos in them, but for now, here are a few to give you an idea of what a wonderful, amazing, sincerely beautiful time we had at our LA shower. And check out my kid's sweet ride, the BOB! And the beautiful lady in the yellow is Shannon, who my regular readers will recognize from an earlier post and who spear-headed the entire operation - the man in the photo with her is her hubby who took all these killer photos. Oh, and the last photo is me with Heather and Chris, who were gracious enough to host our shower at their home, and are our great friends who are also adopting from ET, and Natalie and Dominic, also great new friends, also adopting from ET! Cool, huh? :)

Please send out all the positiveness you can tonight - it is the eve of our court date over in Ethiopia right now. Our judge is going to bed now, or will soon, or already has, and tomorrow he or she will decide whether everything is in order and Noah Arone can officially be our SON! Wow.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oh Ye Of Little Faith and April Showers


"My husband is a lot of great things...handy is not one of them." I literally said this to my mom yesterday as I was running around doing some shopping and getting my hair done. We were discussing all the various furniture pieces that had arrived or would be arriving shortly that needed to be built, and I was worried about how it would all come together, and trying to figure out who to 'invite' over to help us construct.

So I ran home to drop off the glider I had just picked up at the store (gift from my parents, sis & bro, thank u!) and lo and behold, I walked into Noah's room and BOOM - the crib, was there. Built, sturdy, BEAUTIFUL, and even done up with the crib set I had picked up that early morning. No mattress yet, but he still managed to put it on. I was simply FLOORED. And super impressed. I cried, happy excited amazed tears.

So I'm posting a photo of the crib in the nursery. The room is only half done so I'll post better ones soon - we still need, as you can see, curtains for the windows (byebye blinds!), cute stuff for the walls, books for the shelves, a mattress!, etc. but I think it's coming along quite well. I hope you like the sky blue walls. We do!

And also, folks, our dearest friends moved our baby shower here in LA that was being planned we thought safely for May 18 to ummm...YESTERDAY! Leave it to my incredible, amazing friends to throw a shower together in a week and a half after we got our speedy court date. We are humbled and so grateful for their hard work pulling it together so quickly. They sprang into action like nothing I've ever witnessed and I'm still in shock at how gorgeous, touching, and perfect our shower was.

I can't wait to post photos from the shower. I'll do that tomorrow and tell you more about it. It was magnificent. We were truly blown away.

And Wednesday is court day. I can't believe it's only a few days away and we might possibly become Noah's parents officially. All of this is still just a bit beyond me but I am slowly trying to grasp it and wrap my head around it. My heart's been there for a long time, so my head is just trying to catch up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Update Day!


An update on our little dude appeared in my mailbox yesterday. It was a very sweet message with a hilarious photo attached - he has his arms in his favorite outstretched Y shape and has a look on his face like 'excuse me, i'm trying to catch some rays here'...It's too cute. They also mentioned his infectious toothless smile so I thought the photo to the left was perfect for this post.

Our favorite part about the update is that it started with these three words: "Happy! Happy! Happy!"...so incredible to know that halfway around the world right now, little Noah Arone is chillin' in the sun (with his pals!), happy as a clam, waiting for us to come and bring him home! We really couldn't be more thrilled.

Sweet baby gifts are starting to arrive and we actually painted the nursery this weekend! I'll post a pic next week after we get the crib up - it's arriving on Friday! We've moved into fast forward mode over here with the unexpected speedy court date. We're just trying to keep up with ourselves and remaining eternally grateful!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Noah Coffee


Last night I went to meet my dear friend Shannon at an Irish pub for some beverages. It was awesome because we hadn’t seen each other since we both learned of little Noah Arone (my future son, her future honary nephew) ( we hope!) and then turned right around and learned of our pending court date. We had a lot to celebrate. So we were talking most of the night about Noah and I was filling her in on some of the details of his life thus far and we were discussing how it was meant to be and getting chills just thinking about how it all went down. I was saying how I felt like this was the culmination of so many things and we agreed that it was just too huge to put into words, what is happening.

Then she started asking me about our trip to Ethiopia and what we would be doing while we are over there. And I was telling her how we would likely meet Noah either the day we get there or the next if it’s late, and how we would visit the local orphanages and climb Entoto Mountain and then finally, participate in a coffee ceremony and how that is a traditional way of celebrating in Ethiopia and I am excited to take part in one and learn about it.

Suddenly, over the PA system at the bar (mind you, we didn’t’ even know they had one because they hadn’t made any announcements all night and didn’t after) we hear “NOAH, NOAH COFFEE…please report to the bar. NOAH.” Ok, so they may have actually said Noah Coffman or Crawford or something, but we heard Noah Coffee, over the loud speakers, and we were totally amazed with chills running down our spines.

Weird, right? C’mon, you gotta admit that’s a little strange.

Also, my husband was just asked to become a member of the Moose Lodge. This has nothing to do with the above story, I just thought it was hysterical that Anil has been invited to be a moose.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some news...


As a total shock to us, we received a phone call from Mary yesterday with our court date. It is scheduled for April 9th.

I'm told and I believe it to be true that there is just no rhyme or reason to how and when these dates happen. Everyone is petitioned on the day (or day after) they accept a referral and sometimes it takes 2 weeks, sometimes 8 or more. It's a blessing that we heard this soon, and we are grateful for it.

And we truly hope that this means more quickness and good luck for everyone, all around!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tagged Again...by Grace!



First things first, my sister took the photo above. I think it's so cool. It's us, the night before our lives completely changed...

OK so Grace tagged me I think literally hours before we got 'the call'...she thinks it might be what set it off, so I'm going to give her that satisfaction. Who am I to say otherwise? She also gave me permission to write my 10 things about Noah instead of myself, which I can't possibly deny, since he is taking up most of my thought processes these days anyway.

What I got from Grace, and the rules for those I will tag:

So, here's the rules: You've been tagged! Share 10 things about yourself, and then choose 5 people to tag. "Tag" them in their comments section, and be sure to tell them the reason you chose them. Direct them to your blog to get the full details. You can't tag the person who tagged you. As a courtesy to the person who tagged you, please let them know when you have posted so they can have the sheer delight and extra work load of reading your answers.

Here are the first 10 things about Noah Arone that pop into my head:

1. It was love at first sight for me. Several people have asked and the definitive answer is YES. From the moment I saw his photo, I knew in the pit of my soul that he is our son. It's impossible to describe but it was very REAL. I know that it's not official and anything can happen, but I am not worried, for this reason.

2. Speaking of souls, Noah is an old soul. I've never even been quite sure exactly what that means, and I'd guess it means different things to different people depending on your belief system. But it is the first thing a close friend of mine said when she saw his photos, and I believe it to be true.

3. One of his favorite things to do according to the in-country Gladney staff is to raise his arms in a Y shape. I feel like he is reaching out for us, and I can't wait to be there to pick up that little Y and hold him tight.

4. More from the Gladney staff: "He enjoys being on his tummy and lifting up his chest and head with his arms. He is a loveable, easy-going baby." I love that they mention his enjoyment of doing push-ups and that he is loveable and easy-going all in the same breath. Sounds like he's pretty well-rounded. :)

5. Noah resides in the 'blue room' at the care center, and according to Amy Breedlove, who was there recently picking up sweet Nathan, that means that he is roomies with Tara & Eric's little guy, Malak. I love knowing who he's hangin' with these days.

6. Today we went to check out a day care center that little Noah might attend one day in the near future. It's a terrific facility and I think he will be really happy there. When we walked in, I couldn't help thinking 'I can't believe I'm here scouting day care facilities for my son!' Every baby there fascinated me. And when Anil whipped out the photo of Noah on his cell phone and the ladies went nuts, we knew we were in the right spot and immediately signed up for the waiting list. (more waiting!)

7. Little Noah Arone's grandparents are very excited to make his acquaintance, as well as his aunt&uncles, cousins, and all of our close friends who are like family to us. The only person we're not sure about is George. We plan to do all we can to prepare him for this big change, but he's been an only child for so long, it will be tough on him at first. I know Noah will win him over though! And George is a big believer in adoption! :)

8. Noah has asked that we come and get him as soon as possible, so if anyone is listening over in Ethiopia who has any control over this situation, please oblige my patient yet persistent little dude.

9. We struggled for hours with choosing a name after he was referred to us on Monday. He was incredibly close to being named Hudson. I'm glad we chose Noah. It's perfect for him.

10. I was struggling with one last thing so I chatted my husband and asked if he had to say ONE THING about Noah Arone, what it would be? He wrote back 2 words - stunning, golden.

I think that pretty much wraps it up for me. Now I unfortunately have to go tag some more people! No one is safe! :)

OK, 4 of you aren't - I'm tagging Jennifer&Jody,Jessica,Shasta and Meredith. Don't feel obligated, ladies. I'm just passing on some good luck!