Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally Leaving Kenya

I am so incredibly happy! We got Zoe's visa today. This means that we finally get to leave Kenya. I am so happy. In all it took about 5 business days to get our visa. I can't tell you how thrilled I am. I totally started crying when the Embassy called me to let me know that we can finally go home.

I am almost done putting together an itinerary for anyone else planning on adopting from Rwanda. It has a lot of tips that we found out a long the way. We leave tomorrow night and get home on Thursday around midnight. I will try to get the itinerary out by this weekend.

Zoe is doing really well. I just had to share one comment I got on my blog that I am not posting because it has an email address on it. There was an American family who lived in Rwanda from October 2008 to December 2009. They adopted a child from Rwanda a couple of years ago. Also, while they lived there she went to the orphanage once a week to help out. She recognized our daughter. She then proceeded to tell me that she had never seen Zoe smile while she was in the orphanage. I got very emotional as I was reading her comments as during the first week and a half Zoe did not smile once or say one word. Now she laughs and smiles all the time! It made me so happy that we were able to adopt her. She never felt safe or comfortable for her true self to come out. Now that she has a loving mother and father, all she wants to do is play, smile and laugh.
I am so lucky that we get to have this amazing daughter in our lives.

If anyone is thinking about adopting, please consider it. Although we have had our trials over here in Kenya, it is totally worth everything to be with Zoe. She is bonding so well it is amazing. She knows that I am mommy and that Josh is daddy. She comes to me already when I call her name and is always ready for a hug and a kiss for me. I really am so lucky!!!! I think that we are all lucky.

I can't wait to see my boys. They really have been amazing troopers. I am so lucky to have the family I have!!! I want to say thank you to all my friends and family members who helped me watch out for our boys.

I want to say thank you for all the prayers that have been sent my way. I am thankful for God who had me learn patience, and also helped me get home sooner than we thought at first.

I will try to post some more pictures tomorrow if we can download them before we leave. Right now I have a short time left online and I plan on using it to skype my kids!!!

Hopefully we will have a safe flight home and no episodes on the airplane by either me, Josh or Zoe. ha ha!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not much to update

So, my last post I think I was a little sad and frustrated about being stuck here in Kenya. I first want to say that I have spent a lot of time fighting for anyone else who will be coming here. And I have made some progress. I also want to say that I am so grateful for all of the prayers that have been coming our way. We are doing good here in Kenya and are still hopeful that we will be able to go home this week. The only problem is that the Embassy is closed on Wednesday, Friday and Monday. I am praying hard that we get our information sometime by Thursday so we don't have to stay into next week.

The good news is that Zoe is bonding so well with us. It is crazy to think that her first week and a 1/2 she didn't speak one word. Now she talks non-stop. Of course most of it is either Kinyarwanda or babbling, but it is so fun. She likes us to copy her. She also smiles and laughs all day. She can't get enough of Josh teasing her and throwing her around.

It is times like these that I know everything will be ok. I don't want to scare anyone away from adopting in Rwanda. Although we have spent some extra time here in Kenya, it is so worth it to see the smiles and hear the laughter from Zoe. She is totally worth it!!!

I spoke to a consular today at the Nairobi embassy. She said that the US Embassy in Nairobi has spoken to the US Embassy in Rwanda and has told them that the information needs to be sent right away after the I-600 is filed. This was part of my problem. We filed the I-600 on Friday, but Rwanda didn't send it until Wednesday.

I am also putting together an entire itinerary of what I wish we would have done. I am just putting it on as a word document and will send it out to anyone who is interested. I have a bunch of emails from my last post. If anyone else is interested please let me know. I won't publish your post with your email address included.

I want to do everything in my power to help the next families to come to Rwanda. I think that a lot of time will be saved if everything is done in a certain order.

I am also trying to fight the Adam Walsh Clearance if possible. I have been doing a ton of research and what I am finding is that it is not required, but Nairobi believes it is. It is only required if you file an I-130 form. I have already spoken and sent emails to National Visa Center(NVC), USCIS, National Benefits Center (NBC) and Department of Homeland Security. I have also contacted Senators and Congressmen (in Utah). I would recommend anyone else adopting to do the same. I think that if we get our voice heard that maybe we don't have to do this check.

The other thing I am finding out is that most places I have contacted don't understand why the US Embassy is requiring it. So, you might want to send an email to the US Embassy in Nairobi as well stating that it is difficult for those adopting to be gone so long. It is also expensive.

However, that said, if the Nairobi US Embassy continues to do the Adam Walsh check, I can send you some information on how to save time and get it started while you are in Rwanda.
If you would like some information please post your email address (no worries I won't post it) and I'll get back to you. If you have already posted it, you are fine, I will send you the information. I am still waiting on a couple of more things that I am researching before I finish the itinerary with lots of information that we have discovered along the way.

Well, I gotta go. I only had a little time online and I just wanted to quickly post and tell everyone that is adopting or planning to adopt- don't give up!!!
I promise the first time you see your child smile, laugh (and I can't wait for her to call me mommy!) it will be worth it!!

One more thing- Thanks for all the support and again thanks for the prayers! It is amazing how much love we feel from everyone! Please don't forget our family as we still aren't home yet!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stuck in Kenya

Well, we spent hours emailing and phoning everyone we knew. Claire from Children of All Nations spent about 9 hours alone for us advocating for us to come home and such a bummer, because they still will not give us our visa. They tell us here we could be here as long as 2 weeks before we can leave Kenya.

I'm so tired right now as I didn't sleep much last night and I have a headache from today. I am not going to post much today. I found out some information that I'll pass along later to help the next people who are coming.

The good news is that Zoe is bonding really well and is so happy and does really well. However I can tell that even she is getting tired of hotel rooms and waiting in buildings for paperwork to be done. But she is very lovable. She gives me kisses and hugs all day long. I am so lucky to be her momma!!

Will you please keep my two boys at home in your prayers? They are having a difficult time without us being around and I just feel awful being here without them. I know they are being taking care of by my parents, but I know that they miss their mommy and daddy.

If anyone who is adopting from Rwanda is interested in finding out more information about what we are dealing with here, please post your email. I can then send you an email when I get home giving you some further details I wish I knew before we got here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kenya- will we ever leave?

About 4 years ago we came here to Kenya with our son who at the time turned 2 while we were here. We loved it!!! This time, unfortunately I can't say the same thing.

Basically the US Embassy in Kenya is just about impossible to work with. I feel so bad for anyone who has to come here to get their visa done. For those of you adopting and coming here you will soon find that they want you to stay a couple of weeks before you can go home. Here is what we have been doing here.

We flew in on Sunday. Monday we went to the US Embassy to make sure that everything was ok. They even took our folder from Rwanda. After that we went to the doctors to get Zoe's tb shot to make sure she is ok. Tuesday we didn't have to do anything so we had a little fun and went to the Daphne Sheldrik baby elephant orphanage. This was a really fun visit. If anyone is planning on visiting just a quick note- it is only open from 11:00 to 12:00. They bring out the baby elephants and let them play around. They have balls and they kick them around. Below are some pictures.
Here is Zoe and I enjoying watching the elephants.

Aren't the elephants so cute. It was fun to kick the ball back to them to play.
Zoe wants to walk everywhere on her own. I of course let her, because she spent a lot of time in her crib and hasn't seen much of the world. She enjoys playing around, however if anyone comes up to her, she is quick to run to her momma.
So to finish our days in Africa. On Wednesday we went back to the clinic to get Zoe's results. She was negative on tb and then they did a physical and gave her the rest of her immunizations.
Thursday is when everything hit the fan. So we went to the embassy early in the morning. We got there around 7:00am when they open. There was actually already a huge line. We were really lucky because we had a baby with us, they sent us the front of every line. We then gave them all of our information and waited about 2 hours for them to call us to a window. The man behind the window told me that we had to wait at least a week before getting our visa as we had to wait for the Adam Walsh check. I told him that we did the check right before we left and handed it to him. He checked on some things and came back to tell us that wasn't right. He said that he would start the process today. I then asked him why they didn't start it on Monday when I dropped off the papers. He said he didn't know why, but we didn't get the paperwork from Rwanda until Wednesday. Now when I left the US Embassy in Rwanda I told them they had to get the papers to Nairobi right away, but they didn't. Any of you adopting- tell the Rwanda Embassy they must get it there the next day!!
So, now here we are in the hotel. I have spent hours on email and phone calls to every department trying to find someone to help us. Here is the problem. When I call the non-hague adoption services they say that the Adam Walsh is not required. When I call the hague adoption services they say they can't help me because Rwanda isn't a hague adoption country. It is a huge mess. Kenya is a hague country and Rwanda isn't. By the way anyone reading this that is not adopting, will not understand what I am talking about- just know that it all means one big mess. ha ha!!
Our flight is tomorrow night. I am going to send Josh home as I think that our boys at home have been without us long enough. So that leaves me by myself to bring Zoe home. I hope it will be ok, as on our last flight she didn't like the airplane (although she fell asleep luckily right before we took off and woke up right when we landed). And she doesn't like to sit very long. So we'll see what happens.
Please keep our family in your prayers. We have many people sending emails to Nairobi to see if we can get our visa and hopefully something will work and their hearts will be softened. I really want to go home. We have already been here for 18 days. That is a long time to be away from your children and I would hate to stay another 7 more days.
My advice to anyone adopting is first go to the US Embassy in Nairobi and state that they need to start the Adam Walsh clearance immediately. That way they can begin it while you are getting medical work done. I don't know why they didn't start ours as we dropped off our paperwork. Next make sure that Rwanda sends your paperwork to Nairobi right away. And if at all possible avoid Nairobi. They think they understand the laws, but they don't. They are very messed up right now.
I guess it is all in the Lord's hands now. If he feels that I need to learn patience and to persevere I will be here. I'll write tomorrow and let you know what the results are. However, I'll tell you right now that the man working at the Embassy said that I have a zero chance of getting out of here tomorrow.
I guess I'll just keep praying!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Departing for Kenya

I can't believe this is our last day in Rwanda. I am so sad!!! Yesterday was a wonderful. Last night we went to dinner at Jacqui and James house. It was declicous!!! It was the last night that we were all together. I am going to miss everyone so much. The people are wonderful. I am so grateful for the work that Jacqui did and especially for Lyn. She was there with me every day helping us get everything done. Thank you!

Below is a picture of Zoe. We spent a lot of time in the car. It was so cute because Josh got out of the car to grab something in the hotel and right after he got out, she jumped off my lap and ran to the window to see where he was going. She waited there until he came back. It is nice that she is bonding so well with both of us.
Yesterday we went and visited some of the churches that people were killed during the genocide. It was a very humbling experience. Zoe and I are walking around one of the churches. Purple is the color of morning, hence the purple flowers behind me. It was difficult to visit these places, however I am glad that we went. It is important that no one forgets what happened in 1994 in Rwanda. This can never happen again. It can never happen again anywhere!

Here I am with someone who I would call a walking miracle. He was hiding in the church with his family during the 1994 genocide. There were over 6,000 people inside the church and over 4,000 on the church grounds. All of them were killed except for 7 people. He was 8 years old at the time. His story was very moving. It brought me to tears. Here is an amazing man. I know that I will never forget meeting him and that short time I spent with him. We are inside one of the churches. Behind us are the clothing items from the victims. They are displayed all around the church.
I won't have much internet access in Kenya so I don't know that I'll be posting many more pictures of our adventure, but I'll try. Zoe is doing good and I just love her so much.
Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers in Kenya that everything goes well with getting her a visa. We are in Kenya until Friday. We fly out around midnight on Friday and get in on Saturday night around 11:30pm (if everything goes well). Counting down the days to see my boys!!!
I also had to mention that last year in May my sister passed away. Today is her birthday and she would have been 31. Although I am so sad that she is not here to celebrate with us, I know that God works in mysterious ways. I know she is needed elsewhere and I will see her again someday. I also know that I am so grateful that I have Zoe Nicole here with me now.
Happy Birthday Nicole!!! I love you!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Paperwork finished in Rwanda!!!

Yay!!! We finished all of our paperwork. We are done with everything in Rwanda. We have a darling little passport of my beautiful princess and we are finally ready to go to Kenya to work on our visa. I can't believe that we have been here for 11 days and left 13 days ago. We are going to tour the countryside tomorrow and go see one of the lakes and then Sunday we fly to Kenya.
Today we went to a really cool Art Studio called Ivuka. It means rebirth. If you are ever in Rwada I would recommend coming here. It was started by a man named Collin. He started a program for local artists to come and paint and sell their paintings. They are amazing. He also does a program for little kids, especially orphans or poor children to do art for therapy. His program is really amazing.
So, here is the problem. I take about 100 photos of Zoe every day. And then I come to the computer and I'm supposed to pick out only one to show on my blog. Well, today I couldn't decide. So, here are a bunch of pictures of my special princess. I just can't get over how beautiful she is. She is laughing and smiling all the time. She loves to play games with daddy. She loves him to chase her while she is running as fast as her little legs can carry her to her mommy, laughing all the way.

The man in the orange shirt is Collin. He is in charge of the art institute. I got some beautiful paintings from here. One is for Zoe's room and I'm so excited about it. I forgot to take a picture of it before they wrapped it up. I'll post it later.

Zoe and Daddy. Hanging out in front of the art institute.

my princess
my princess wondering why I won't stop taking pictures of her.

On our city tour we saw the hotel from Hotel Rwanda. This is the actual hotel. The movie for some reason was filmed in South Africa, so the hotel they used wasn't the real one. This is the real hotel.

We only have tomorrow to see Rwanda and then we leave on Sunday. I can't believe we are all done with our paperwork, Zoe has a passport and we will be leaving. It is such a sad and happy feeling that I have about departing. We travel out of country all the time and never has it been so sad for me to leave. I am very excited to get Zoe home and of course to see my boys, but I feel that Rwanda has become a part of me. I love this country so much. I love that my daughter is from here. The people and the country are so beautiful and I will miss it very much.

If you ever have an opportunity to visit Africa, I would recommend coming to Rwanda. It is an amazing place.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Zoe Smiling

It took a couple of days for Zoe to hang around us before she smiled. And when she did smile it was because I was tickling her. However, the last two days she has been smiling at me without any tickles. Today she even smiled for the camera. Needless to say I was smiling big behind the camera. Doesn't she have the most beautiful smile? I love this little girl!!! How did I get so lucky to be her mommy?
Zoe loves bananas. She wants to eat one with every meal. We have a big stack of them and she is always wanting one. It is one of the few foods that she will eat. She hasn't learned to use her teeth yet, so she won't eat anything hard. Not even crackers or cookies. But she loves bananas.

Zoe is all ready for the day. This morning she grabbed her shoes wanted me to put them on and then went to the door ready to go out for the day. By the way, this was at about 6:30am this morning. Needless to say she had to wait for us to get ready!

Here is my little rock star. I took this a couple of days and I had to post it. She loves these sunglasses.

We are all doing well. Just waiting for her passport to be done. Josh and I got Zoe's cold, so we are all a little under the weather but we are all together and that's all that matters. We are doing a city tour today which I look forward to. Although I have seen a lot of the city driving from each spot to the next, I wanted to learn a little more about Kigali.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The last few days in Rwanda

Here we are at the African Bite restaurant again. A monkey came and visited us. Zoe was very impressed. She couldn't stop looking at it. This is our favorite place to eat. We come here almost every day for lunch. It is so delicious. This is on Saturday. We had a relaxing morning, met up for lunch and then had a wonderful day.

On Saturday we went to the Genocide Memorial. It was a very moving place to visit. If you do not know much about the genocide I recommend that you read the books "As we Forgive" as well as "Land of a thousand hills". Both of these should be read by anyone adopting from Africa as it gives a lot of history about the genocide as well as information about Rwanda. They are a strong people. They have gone through a lot and they are working together creating a better country.

Here is our awesome guide Lynn with Zoe and myself sitting outside of the memorial. I look awful as I had just finished going through the museum. It was very sad but especially when we went through the childrens museum portion and I was holding little Zoe in my arms, it was very moving and I couldn't help myself.

Here is Zoe and I walking around outside at the Memorial. It was a very emotional experience. The grounds are really pretty. There are big slabs of concrete. Under these are buried around 250.000 bodies.

On Sunday we drove to her birthplace about an hour outside of town. Here is the woman who took Zoe to the hospital at her birthplace. I am not going to share her story of her birth as I feel that this is something that I will only share with her when she is older. However this woman will always be very special to me. She was so excited. We went to her home and had fanta drinks with her. It was amazing we even found her. She said she is Zoe's grandmother. She kept clapping her hands and jumping up and down because she was so excited for her.

Here is the nurse who took care of her when she was at the hopsital. She was so happy to see her. She told us she was her God Mother. It was sad because Zoe of course would not want to go to her. I believe she thinks someone will take her away from me. But she held her anyway, crying. It was an incredible meeting. She took us all around the entire hospital and introduced Zoe to everyone. Many knew who she was. Zoe does not want to let go of me. She is always holding me tight.

This is her room she stayed in at the hospital. I was so excited because they said we could take a picture of the room. She lived here for 3 months before she went to the orphanage. The workers were all so nice. Everyone was so excited to see her. They couldn't believe that she was going to America.

The entire land is hills. It is crazy. All you see are hundreds of hills everywhere you look. Everything is terraced and placed up on the hills.
These are some typical houses here. Each house usually has 3 bedrooms. One bedroom for a sitting room, one room for the parents and one room for the kids. On average they have about 6 kids per family and all 6 kids share one room. Just a side note- for any of you thinking about adoption and not wanting kids to share rooms- it's ok. Here they share rooms and everyone is fine. Ok- that's enough of my adoption plug for now. They have a seperate type of little house in the back that they use for a kitchen.

Here are some houses built up on the hills. It is hard to describe how beautiful it is and I know this picture does not do it justice. It is so beautiful here! Very green!

Zoe is obsessed with her mouth. We finally got her a binkie. She makes me hold her sippie cup in her mouth all day long (even when she is not drinking it) I think she sucks her thumb and puts things to her mouth for comfort. We thought we would try this.
Today was so long. Josh told me that he likened Rwanda to sitting at the DMV all day long about 8 hours day with a two year old waiting for something to be done. Last Friday they told us to come at 10:00am. We went there at 10:00am and then they said to come at 1:00. We went at 1:00. We then waited and waited. Finally at 4:50 we had our travel documents. Finally!!!! The day before was so amazing and yet today was not very good. I'll be glad when all of the paperwork is done.
Today we went to Immigration. We got her passport started. For those of you coming just so you know you actually can start the passport process before getting your travel letter. You only need the travel letter to pick it up. They are actually very efficient here. We filled out some papers, gave them copies of all our documents and passport pictures of Zoe (which are really cute) and they will process her passport. It will be a Rwandan passport and it will still be under her name Lucie Uwimana. She also got her yellow fever shot today as she needs this for Kenya. That was really sad!!!
Now we get to relax and spend time seeing the sights in Rwanda. We are really excited. We are doing a city tour and driving around and outside of Rwanda. Hopefully we will have her passport by friday morning and then we can visit the US Embassy on friday. This means we can fly to Kenya on Sunday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rwanda setting up National Adoption Center

For those of you that are either in the process of adopting or wanting to adopt from Rwanda I had some exciting news to share with you. A couple of days ago on Thursday there was an article in the New Times newspaper here in Rwanda. It stated that they were opening a National Adoption Center here in Rwanda. I have been trying to download the article to share it with you, but I am having a hard time. If you google New Times newspaper in Rwanda you will find their site. You will first need to register to be able to look at past issues. After you register, go to the front page and do a search for orphanages. The title is about setting up the National Adoption Center.
While I have been here I have seen how swamped everyone is here. The Ministry is really behind and since right now there is only one orphanage adopting, the nuns are really busy. I have spoken to the nuns and a little at the Ministry's office. I know how busy they are and how behind they have been getting. I'll post more when we get home.
Please don't let me discourage any of waiting or wanting to adopt, I hope that the National Adoption Center will change many things. I see this as a very good thing. The Ministry is already in charge of so much and with the adoption center on its own, things should speed up. Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in Rwanda.

I mainly wanted this post for those people who are waiting. While we waited for Zoe I craved any information I could find. I will also write more when we get to Kenya. I will keep trying to find out any further information or details I can find.
Zoe is doing really well. I will post about our last couple of days tomorrow. For those of you waiting don't give up. It has been crazy with employment changes, a large increase in adoptions and just even working with the slow time here in Africa. They are trying to make things work better. I didn't know when we would get here and we did. I still can't believe that we are here and she is sleeping right in our bed right now. It's awesome. You will get here. God has a plan for each child. Sometimes you just need to wait for yourself or your child to be ready.

Have a fabulous day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zoe stays with us after a long day in Africa!

So, last night I was so tired after the day that I couldn't write anything. So, I decided to write everything in today. I'm going to show pictures first and then I'll tell you about the long day we had yesterday at the end. Zoe is with us in our hotel and I love it!!! Yesterday I even got her to smile. That was definetly a highlight!! I finally got to dress Zoe today! Here she is in her first little girl outfit from her mama! Doesn't she look beautiful?

Zoe was so good this morning. We spent the morning hanging out in the hotel and just playing. She loves the stacking cups.

Here are some pictures of yesterday. We got her haircut last night. It was really tangled up and very dirty. We thought since she was now with us it would be best to cut her hair and give her a really good bath. They undid her hair and the top part of her hair was about 3 inches of fro. I loved it, however the sides weren't growing so we had to cut the entire thing to very short.

Here she is in her outfit that we brought her home in from the orphanage. Her hair is untangled it is now ready to be cut.

Zoe is almost done with her hair cut. She got so sad. She didn't say anything but at the end I knew it hurt. I saw one little tear come down from her eye. It made my heart break. Her hair was so tangled up and dirty, so it so much better now.

Here is sweet little girl. It was our first night together! She slept the entire night. She is so quiet. She never says a word. However in the middle of the night she did talk in her sleep.

Here is Zoe sucking her thumb last night. Isn't she so cute. I had to get up and take a picture.

Here is where the long day begins. Yesterday we got up early to go to the court house to pick up our approval. We couldn't pick it up yesterday after Court as they had made some mistakes so we had to get it today. We drove to the court house. When we got to the court house we made it just before the judge left. Our lawyer spent about 30 minutes to an hour trying to get him to sign the paper before he left. He signed it. But we couldn't pick it up. We had to drive to another building to pay about $3 for the paperwork. We drove to that building where there was a long line. We somehow got to the front and told them we needed to pay and they told us first we needed to go to the bank and bring the receipt back to that building to get another receipt to take to the court house. So we left the building and went to the bank. Lynn told us that the worst thing to do in Africa is go to the bank. We waited in line over an hour just to pay $3. Then we drove back to the other building. By the time we got there, the line was even bigger. We dropped Lynn off to wait in line for us as we went to go get Zoe from the orphanage. We then met Lynn at the court house. We were gone about an hour before we got to the court house and we still didn't have our paperwork. Finally after waiting a while it was done. Needless to say we didn't get to the Ministy's before lunch.
We decided to have lunch at the Africa Bite. This is such a cute place to eat. I think it is my favorite so far. And the food is really good!!!

After lunch we went to the Ministry's office. We asked them for our travel letter. We need this letter in order to have Zoe spend the night with us and for her to get a passport and be able to leave Rwanda. When we got there she said that the Minister wasn't there. We told her that we would wait. After about 2 hours it was getting close to closing time so I told her we needed this letter so that Zoe could spend the night with us. She said that the minister isn't here to sign that paper. However she said she would see what she could do. She called the nuns at the orphanage and asked them if I brought a letter back signed by the minister stating that we could bring Zoe home this weekend is that ok? They said yes. So she said that the Minister would sign a document for us to have her come home this weekend. In my mind I thought "Didn't you say she wasn't here?" But I wanted Zoe with us this weekend so I didn't do anything. After waiting for another 30 minutes, we actually saw the minister poke her head out of her door. She spoke to her secratary and then went back into her office. We waited an additional 2 hours for her to sign a letter stating that we could take her back with us.
By the way did I mention that every place we waited at didn't have any air conditioning. And it is really warm. We were all drenched in sweat from sitting and waiting all day at different places. Now we have to wait until Monday to get our travel letter.
Finally we took a very tired Zoe back to the orphanage. We gave the letter to the nun as well as went over all of our paperwork. We then received Zoes files. Then we went to the grocery store to get some dinner and of course lots of water after the heat from today!! After that, we cut her hair and gave her a bath and brushed her teeth.
But finally the best part of the day. Zoe got to sleep in between us the entire night. It was splendid. She slept the entire night.
I however, didn't sleep much at night because I couldn't stop staring at her all night long!
Well, I am so tired again today, so I'll tell you more about that tomorrow!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pictures of Zoe- (Finally!)

Here is my beautiful girl! Finally you get to see the new love of my life Zoe!
We got our approval today from court. We are so excited!!

Here is our first picture we ever received of Zoe. This was our referral picture.

Here are pictures I got of Zoe about 1 week before we met her.

Here is Zoe with Jacqui. She is our Rep here in Rwanda. She bought Zoe this cute little pink dress to wear.

Here are some pictures of Zoe yesterday. This is our first meeting. I blogged yesterday how the meeting went, so today here are the pictures.

Here is Josh in our hotel room playing with Zoe. We were only able to play with her for about an hour. She loved the stacking cups! She is so quiet. I wonder what will happen when she gets home to our loud family.

She didn't cry at all today. I think that we took her during nap time though as she was very tired. But she wouldn't let anyone take her away from me. She would hold on so tight.
I am so lucky! I am so excited to show you my beautiful daughter! I can't wait to bring her home to meet her brothers and the rest of her family!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meeting Zoe and Court Date

Well, it finally happened. I still feel not quite so real right now. Today I got to hold my beautiful daughter Zoe. She is so cute!!!
So, let me give you a few details first regarding our situation. We were to have a court date on Monday and we arrived Tuesday night to find out that they decided to have a holiday on Monday so we didn't have a court date. We found out that they wanted to schedule our court date for next monday. So today we met with Zoe for a couple of hours and then went to the court house to try to get stuff done. Lucky us, our lawyer convinced the judge to let us go to court today!!! And tomorrow we get the ruling!!! We are so lucky that everything worked out. So basically that means that I can't show pictures yet of Zoe until our ruling tomorrow, but then I can show you pictures. Here are just a couple of pictures until then. Here is Josh with our guide Lynn and our lawyer.

Here is the entrance to the orphanage. It is well known for the blue color throughout the entire orphanage.

Now on to meeting Zoe.
So we drove to the orphanage and waited for the nuns to bring her out. Finally she came out and we saw her walk up with the nun. It was amazing to see her in real life. I went down and picked her up and of course she started crying. She kept pushing away from me and trying to get away, but I wouldn't let her. I kept holding on and rubbing her back, while rocking her back and forth whispering words in her ear. Finally she just fell asleep in my arms. Josh and I held for about an hour and 1/2 before she woke up. She woke up in my arms and at first was a little nervous and then suddenly she was clinging to me. She was holding me tight. When I leaned in a little towards her, she leaned her entire body against mine. She was so quite, didn't say one word, however she just keep holding on to me. It was just as beautiful when I gave birth to my first two boys and I got to hold them for the first time.

We finally had to go to court and it was so sad to say good-bye, but the good news is that she didn't wat to go back to the nuns. She was clinging on to me and started crying again. She wanted me. I was so sad and happy at the same time.

I told her that I would be back tomorrow. We go again tomorrow morning to be with her and then we will go back to court to get our ruling. We are also going to try and get our travel documents together tomorrow so we can have Zoe come home and sleep the night with us. I'll keep you posted on everything.

For those of you waiting patiently for your little ones- just keep holding on. It will happen. And it is the best thing in the world.

Thanks for your prayers! Things are going so well. We hope they continue. Please continue praying that Zoe will continue to bond with us and that we will be able to get all of our paperwork together soon.

We love you all!!!!! And hopefully tomorrow we can show you our little girl!!!