Sunday, April 11, 2010

Doing Good!!

Life could not be better!!!
First I want to let you know that I finally sent out an email to everyone who gave me their email address with information regarding our trip to Rwanda. If you did not receive it please post and let me know. I might have accidentally spelled your email wrong or maybe I didn't have your email address.
Here is our family in the middle of lots of snow on Easter. It had been so cold and snowy when we first arrived home, but we are loving it. Zoe doesn't want to stay out too long in the cold, but loves going outside. Finally the snow has melted hopefully it will begin to warm up soon.
I am posting a few pictures of our time in Kenya. Here we are at the Animal Orphanage. They actually let us go inside with the cheetahs and get a picture taken. This was awesome. I have been with Tigers in Thailand, and Lions in Zambia, but never with a Cheetah before. Aren't they beautiful!!

Here is Josh feeding an Ostrich.

Zoe was fascinated with this monkey that I was feeding on my shoulder. The rest of the time at the orphanage she kept trying to feed every monkey we saw.

This is our first morning as a family. All the boys had to be right next to Zoe. They are all showing her books and toys to play with. Aren't my kids so adorable? Ok- I know I am there mom. But I just can't help loving how sweet they are to each other!

We finally got dressed that first morning. Here we are upstairs giving more hugs. The boys just couldn't seem to get enough of Zoe.
Our first day home was really nice. The boys were out of school for Spring Break so we just hung out together all day as a family. Here the boys are showing Zoe how to open presents. Zoe gave each of the boys presents and they had some for her to welcome her home. Zoe didn't know what to think of her bedroom. I don't think she had ever seen so much pink before!

We went to an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday in my parents neighborhood. Zoe came even though it was snowy outside. And she got to meet the Easter Bunny. Although this was our second day home, she did amazing. She never cried. And loved walking around and seeing all the other kids.

So- the Easter Bunny did visit our house on Sunday!!! And lucky for us, he left some really cute Easter Church clothes for the kids!!
Here is Calvin looking for eggs

Here is Martin looking for eggs!
Zoe didn't quite get into the egg adventure, however she loved her little cell phone that the Easter Bunny brought her. This is now one of her favorite toys yet.
And by the way- she was a big hit at church. One of the men in our church said that she must be the most popular girl in the neighborhood. Everyone just loves her so much!! All the kids came up and were trying to get her attention it was so adorable.
We are so lucky to be in an area where she is surrounded by love!
Here she is with my friend Trish's little girl Bryn. Zoe already has a fan base and I think Bryn might be president of it.
We are doing amazing. Zoe is so happy and is doing really well. She hasn't spoken any English words yet, however she is doing some sign language. She loves to be around people, however she mainly wants me, Josh and the kids.
We are together as a family every day showing her love and earning her love in return. I am so blessed to be given this special girl.
I just want to send out one more special prayer. In one of my posts I spoke about her birthplace. We do not know who her birth mother is. The woman who found her and took her to the hospital is her honorary grandmother- not her real grandmother. She wanted to be called that and of course we wanted her to feel like part of our family as well. Although we do not know her birth mother, I hope she knows that her little girl is being taken care of and is loved very much.
It is incredibly difficult to give a child up. I am so sad that she had to leave her daughter behind, but I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to raise her and love her. I am so glad that she is my daughter. Although I have not spoken much about Zoe's birth mom in my blog, know that I think about her all the time. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with her everyday. I have written letters to her, but have decided to keep those private. But I just want it known that I love this woman who gave birth to our daughter. She can never know how much I truly love and appreciate her. So, although I have not said much, it is on my mind often. Thank you dear mother. Thank you for your sacrifice to bring our Zoe into the world, and into our family.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Yay!!! Whoo Hoo!! We finally made it home. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and thoughts!! We were so lucky to get out when we did as the Embassy was going to be closed for Easter and we could have been stuck there another week. Sorry I am now just posting. I have had a very difficult time doing anything as my kids won't let me out of their sight. Plus we are all so tired around here. However, it couldn't be more incredible at our household!!! We are all bonding and doing wonderful!! Here are some pictures of our homecoming in the middle of the night at the Salt Lake City airport. It was so beautiful! Zoe did amazing. The entire time we were in Africa she only wanted me (or sometimes Josh) to hold her. She would only smile and laugh after she had been around someone for a while. However, when we got to the airport and met everyone it was amazing. It was as if she knew they were family! She let people hold her, she gave kisses and hugs and smiled and laughed lots!
Here we are as a family for the first time!
Here is Calvin (my almost 7 year old) with Zoe. He is her protector and loves her. The second day she was home he told me "Mommy, she is just so cute, I can't stop staring at her". It brought tears to my eyes!
Martin (my 4 year old) can't get enough Zoe hugs and kisses. Luckily Zoe loves to give kisses. He plays with her and just loves to make her laugh. Zoe sure loves her brothers!

Zoe loves my mom. She wanted to be with her at the airport (even when I was standing right next to her). My mom comes over almost every day (as she only lives 15 minutes away) and Zoe loves it! I am so lucky to have such an amazing mom. She is the person who took care of my boys while we were away for 4 weeks. I love her so much!!!

Here is my dad. He was right there helping my mom do everything she could for our boys. I think it is because of him that I didn't have a nervous breakdown in Africa when they told me I would have to stay for 2 to 3 weeks longer. Thanks dad!!

This is the sight we came home to. I can't believe all the people that came even though it was the middle of the night and it was even during Spring Break!!! Zoe already has so many people who love her!
Here is Zoe with my little brother Spencer! Aren't they so cute!!

Here is Zoe with my other little (but bigger) brother Brandon. Both of my brothers are single- so if anyone knows any cute girls.... (ha ha!!!)

This is Josh's sister Rebecca. She lives near us and was amazing also while we were gone. She spent many nights at my house with my kids. My boys just love her and her husband John. I am so grateful to have them in our lives!!
This is Josh's sister Jessica. This was a huge surprise. She flew in from Boston area. I couldn't believe it when we were coming down the stairs and saw her standing there! She will be here for about 2 weeks in total. It has been so fun for everyone to be with her. The kids love playing with her!!
Here is one of my best friends Trish and her daughter Liv. Trish and her family were supposed to be in St. George for Spring Break. However, they put it off for a couple of days to see Zoe. Trish and her mom are actually the reason why we gave her the name Zoe. I was so excited to see Trish here! Isn't her daughter Liv so cute? We are already setting up play dates for the two girls!! By the way- excuse how messy I look in all of these pictures. We had been traveling for 35 hours. Oh- and can I just say that I love girls!!!! Daughters are so much fun to dress and play with!
Here is Trish and Mark with two of their daughters Liv and Whitney. I really must thank Mark because I know he probably wanted to be in St. George but he still came to the airport!!! I have such good friends!!!
Here are the Towner family. Anita, Eric and their daughter Angela. These guys are basically my second family. They work with us and travel with us and are just part of the family. I was so excited to see them there.
I can't tell you incredible everything has been since we got home. Zoe gets along with everyone. She is so relaxed in our home and our boys are doing really well. Although Martin is a little emotional since he isn't the baby anymore- everything feels so natural. I was also nervous with Zoe being 2 years old as we had initially requested a baby. But in reality it has made the transition even easier. She is old enough to play with our boys, old enough to eat dinner with us in her high chair and although I still hold her lots, I can also put a lot of attention on my boys as well. For those of you thinking of adopting only a baby , just know that adopting a 2 year old is awesome!!!
I know that God wanted her to be in our family. And I am sure she knows it as well. She is so happy. She smiles and laughs with the boys all day long. She plays games and mimics everything we do. She is very secure with herself and she knows this is where she is loved.
I will post more pictures hopefully tomorrow. And I am almost finished on all the information for those of you planning to adopt from Rwanda. I will be sending out emails really soon with lots of information and details on what I wish I would have known and done. ha ha!!
Anyone else who wants the information please leave a comment with your email address. I will not be publishing these email addresses. It's not a lot of information, but if I would have double checked and done some things differently it would have saved us a lot of time in Africa.
Also, I know that many of you have left questions. I had a hard time getting to those in Kenya as it was $10 an hour to use the internet. However, now that I am home and finished the itinerary for Rwanda Adoptions, I will soon be answering all of your questions. And hopefully since we got the Kenya Embassy contacting and talking to the Rwanda Embassy that will solve a bunch of problems with delays.
Thanks again for all of your prayers. We are so grateful to be home with our daughter.
Just one last note. I get the question all the time on how I can love her as much as my kids I gave birth to. Well, I would like to finally answer that question first hand. Adopting her feels like I gave birth to her. I love her, want to take care of her, want to protect her and want to hug and kiss her just as much as my boys. She may not have been born from my tummy, but she was born from my heart. She is my daughter. I knew it from the first moment I saw her. I am filled with the same love for her as I have for my boys. God knew that she was mine- it just took a little while for me to find her that's all.