Monday, July 16, 2012

Ethiopia (Trip 2) "Gotcha Day"

I've literally been putting off this post because there are a million things to say about this day/trip/adoption process, but yet I don't know how to express everything in words. I do know if I really start getting into everything right now, I'll end up sobbing my way through the post, so maybe I'll share more another time. By the way, for those of you who aren't part of the adoption world, "Gotcha Day" was a term coined for the day a family takes custody of their child. This day for us was Tuesday, June 26th (a day before our Embassy/VISA interview, which is when we became "official"). 

Tuesday morning we went to the care center to spend time with Josiah Yosen. My heart was pounding just about as hard this time around as the first time we met him. I was so anxious to hold him again! A nanny brought him out from his crib and he quietly sat in my arms and looked around. One of the nannies wanted him to show off his crawling skills for us so we put him on the ground and she got him to do a few scoots for us:~) Over time he started to relax and play and we got to see some of those adorable smiles we had seen the first time around. 

We weren't actually positive until we got to the care center that he was for sure coming back with us that afternoon. Thankfully they had prepared information for me about his sleep and eating schedules which helped relieve some of the anxiety I was starting to feel when they said "Yes! He's going home with you today!"

Josiah Yosen is back in my arms, and not sure what to think about it all!

Watching and wondering. What in the world is going on?

Daddy gets a turn.

 Doesn't he look like an angel under the mosquito net? 

After lunch, all the babies went down for a nap, so we left the care center to go eat.

Enjoying lunch at the Culture House with Jeremy and Erin.

When we got back to the care center we found that the kids had all been changed into traditional Ethiopian clothing and we received a beautiful outfit to put on Josiah as a gift. After some chaos, the party began. I wish I could post the videos of the songs the kids sang for us, as well as pictures of the festivities, but for privacy reasons I can't. 

The dishes for the party.

Josiah digging into his cake at the party.

When it was time to go, we got hit with a wave of emotion, that THIS IS REAL! After giving hugs and thanks to the kids and an emotional staff, with tears streaming down our faces, we walked out the gate with Josiah in our arms! 

We squished into a taxi and rode back to the guesthouse together.

Welcome to our family Josiah Yosen! We love you so much!

For those of you who never got to see pictures, here is a look back...

February 17th, 2012-Referral pictures
I'll never forget the moment I first saw pictures of our son! (click here to read about the referral)

We received these updated pictures right before our first trip and it made me cry because Josiah was growing so fast.

First trip-April 22nd-May 1st

The first time we held Josiah (April 24th)

Josiah was more interested in the camera than mommy.

Daddy and Josiah's first moments together.

Tuesday, June 26th
Our family!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ethiopia (Trip 2) "Road Trip"

We flew out of Fort Wayne Friday, June 23rd on a very short flight to Chicago for an overnight lay-over. Thanks to Amit and Kyann who met us in Chicago Friday night for dinner!

Getting read to fly out of Fort Wayne. Lots of butterflies!

We flew out of Chicago early Saturday morning and arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday morning. Tsegaw, our driver, met us at the airport and took us for a two day road trip to Shashemene and Ziway. A few pictures of the trip...

Trying to capture the beauty we were seeing. 
In Ethiopia, there are many transportation options!
We saw lots of cows...
...and camels!
Acacia trees!
Shashemene was looking lush. The lighter fields in the background are teff fields, 
which is what injera (Ethiopian bread) is made of.
Great views of Lake Ziway
Another beautiful shot of the views we enjoyed!
I love this picture. These girls were posing for Jon and giggled the whole time!
Breakfast in Shashemene with our driver Tsegaw
Ziway Staff at one of the schools we visited.
Samuel's House.
Jon playing soccer with the kids at the Ziway school
Jon standing in front of one of the Crater Lakes.

 Dreamland Resort at Crater Lakes.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ethiopia (Trip 2) "Part 2"

When I started sorting pictures, it just seemed easier to start from the second half of our trip (6/27-7/1) and then work our way back to the beginning. So here we go!

Mommy and Josiah playing in front the mirror at our guesthouse.
Josiah's favorite game!
Josiah and Daddy ready for Embassy/VISA interview
Our new friends Nancy and Mirhet 
Our cook graciously gave us lessons on how to make injera
Giving it a try 
Some of the staff at the guesthouse we stayed. They were fabulous!
Nigest was staying at the guesthouse we were at and invited us to her mother's house for a coffee ceremony
Tsegaw took us for some shopping. Enjoying some coffee and cake.
Enjoying beauty of the Sheraton with Allen and Susan.
They graciously hosted us overnight (again) the day before we left Ethiopia.
We had a wonderful time. Thanks again!
Someone is excited to fly home!
We flew out with Nigest's mother (who did the coffee ceremony for us)!
Josiah sleeping in his bassinet on the airplane. He was an awesome traveler!

After 31 hours of travel (one delayed flight and a rental car ride with people we met at the airport headed to Fort Wayne), we arrived home to be greeted by parents, family, and friends. Thanks everyone for your love, prayers, and support!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

5 Years

July 8th, 2007
The ride of a lifetime begins!

A few of our favorite memories from the past five years...

Honeymoon in Italy
Watching the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Sedona, AZ
Ringger Family Vacation to Outer Banks (twice)
Stealing a kiss on the "Maid of the Mist" during a Niagara Falls trip with friends
Sailing with Nate, April, and Cole
New York City
Enjoying time in Florida with Grandpa and Grandma Stoller
Skydiving in my hometown, Rittman, Ohio
Multiple trips to Phoenix to visit Mike, Angie, and kiddos
 Grand Canyon- what a view!
Missions trip to Haiti
Multiple trips to Chicago with family and friends
Enjoying the Riverwalk, San Antionio
Road Trip to Ashville, NC to see Biltmore Estate
Road Trip to Savannah, Beaufort, and Charleston
First time holding Josiah Yosen

The day we took custody of Josiah Yosen..."Gotcha Day"

While I was sorting through our pictures to find some highlights to post, it was so fun to be reminded of things that have happened that I can easily forget. Looking back, I was able to see our house transform, families grow, friends transition, and most of all, be reminded of God's faithfulness to Jon and I these past 5 years. We have been so blessed!

Happy Anniversary Jon! You are an AMAZING husband!

Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.
SOS 8: 6-7