Thursday, December 31, 2009

TB Test Update

They girls did not get their TB tests as planned because the clinic was closed. They are supposed to get them on Monday, so we should find out sometime at the end of next week (you know, 8 days before we're scheduled to leave the country). I think I'm being tested on that "being more flexible" skill. Keep praying!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TB tests

We got word today that our girls will be having their TB tests tomorrow. We will find out the results early next week. If they test positive for TB exposure, they'll have to remain in Ethiopia for the next 8 weeks to begin treatment. Please pray for a negative result. We know that God's timing is not ours, so if we are delayed, it will be for a reason (but I'm really hoping and praying that we are not delayed:)

Ethiopian Cuisine

We took our parents and brothers to the Ethiopian restaruante to taste a little culture. They all enjoyed it and I was impressed that our kids did too. I haven't tried to make any dishes yet, but at least I know I can get take out there.

Colton's Birthday

Colton is officially two now (although he's been showing sings of being 2 for months). Even though I post pictures of his tantrums and crying, he is for the most part a delightful little boy. He is talking a ton, loves football (playing and watching it-daddy is thrilled), loves to play outside, big trucks, word world on PBS kids, and keeping up with his brother and sister. We love you little buddy and can't wait to see what you'll do this year.

Hair Care

I went to a friend's house yesterday to learn the basics of Ethiopian hair care. She has adopted 4 beautiful children from Ethiopia and is a wealth of knowledge. She is a nurse, like me and holds to the teaching theory of see one, do one, teach one (that's what they say in nursing school about the procedures that we learn). Well, I saw her do one of her girl's hair. She then let me do her older girls hair (parts of it-if I had done the whole thing, we would have been there all day). I don't think I'm ready to teach one yet, but I'm definitely feeling confident that I can at least care for Hermela and Meron's hair and do a few basic styles.

She gave us a starter kit and directed me to a hair care store where I bought lots of cute hair clips and beads. Feeling ambitious, I decided to practice on Caroline's hair when I got home. Ethiopian hair is a little different than other types of African hair. It is pretty soft and has beautiful curls. Nothing like Caroline's fine, staight hair,but I thought I would give it a try. After and hour and a half and a little whining, we ended up with 29 tiny braids with beads. I was pretty impressed with how it came out until she immediately wanted to take it out. I convinced her to leave it in until daddy got home and even got her to sleep, but at 11:15pm she woke up crying that her head hurt, so I took it all out. Hopefully Hermela and Meron will be used to it and I'll get a few more days out of their styles.

Christmas Fun

Our little shepherd, praying on the far right.
My attempt at getting a group shot on Christmas Eve in front of the tree.
Leaving (and eating) cookies for Santa.
Putting our "magic key" outside so Santa can get in (we don't have a chimney).
Note the chocolate in one hand and candy cane in the other.

We had a great Christmas this year celebrating Jesus' birthday. Our older two are old enough to understand a good amount about the true meaning of Christmas. Colton is old enough to know that if you can get a candy cane or piece of chocolate open on Christmas morning, mom lets you eat it for breakfast (we suffered the consequence of a sugared up melt down later in the day).

Last year we started the tradition of giving three gifts to each child to represent the three gifts that the wise men brought to baby Jesus. The kids really look forward to those three gifts and get the correlation. We also did this in an effort to control the mass influx of toys. Because all of our kids are close in age, they get excited about and play with their siblings' toys as well. Three kids times three presents equals nine presents (15 next year:) which is a lot of new toys. So although we limit the amount of new toys, they still have two sets of grandparents, three sets of great grandparents, and aunts and uncles and cousins.....needless to say, our house is overrun with new toys. To add to the new collection, Colton has a birthday in December and Caleb has one in January. We may have to come up with a new plan next year or the toys may take over.

Anyway, it was a great season and we are grateful for God's gift of His Son and look forward with great anticipation for what He will do next year in our family.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas in Real Life

I keep telling myself that I need to lower my expectations of what gets done around here. I kind of like things a certain way and I'm particularly fond of my plans going as planned. Having kids of course has changed that some. I actually enjoy being more flexible and less concerned about plans-I just have a little learning curve.

So when we only had Caleb, I did pictures of him myself for the most part. Then we had Caroline and I found it to be a bit challenging to capture those important moments and have both children looking at the camera and looking somewhat happy. When Colton arrived, I realized that just looking in the same direction qualified as a successful photo. Now with number 4 and 5 coming, it will probably take a small miracle to achieve that "successful" photo shoot. I can tell you I sure am looking forward to trying to get that photo with all FIVE of my kids.

So, Monday night we took the kids to see Santa. I learned two years ago that my best bet was to bite the bullet and buy the $40 cd (as much of a racket as that is) of candid shots and not even bother bringing my own camera. After a nice hour long wait (the kids did great), all three kids held hands and happily ran over to Santa. Unfortunately, once Colton got a closer look, he was having no part of saying "cheese" and the best group photo we got was the one of him screaming. Nick said, "that's real life" and it is. So Merry Christmas to all! We are so excited for this Christmas and the many to come with our full house.

24 days until we leave and 31 days until we're all together as a family!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We booked tickets!

So we actually booked our tickets tonight-I can't believe it. We're going to Ethiopia. We leave on the 16th of January and should meet our girls on Monday, the 18th (my birthday). Four weeks and two days!!!

Tonight we celebrated by making reindeer food (chex muddy buddies). I wonder if it will last until Christmas???

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Travel Dates

We have confirmed travel dates! We are to be in Ethiopia by Monday January 18th-my birthday (can't think of a better gift than that). We are working with travel agents to book tickets and will probably leave January 16th and return on the 23rd. I can't actually believe that all of this is happening. In just about 4 1/2 weeks, we'll meet our daughters. We just got new pictures and videos of the girls from the families that traveled last week. They both look so good. Meron is finally smiling and seems to really enjoy the mini m&ms we sent her. Now the fun of preparing for their arrival begins!

I don't even know how frequent flyer miles work, but if there is anyone out there with extra miles that would like to donate them, we'd be more than grateful. I believe we'll be flying United Airlines and then Ethiopian Air.

33 more days!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garage Sale Update

Against predictions of certain rain, our garage sale was a big success and we had lovely weather. We raised about $800 with the help and support of many friends and family. Thank you to all who donated items (that was our house the night before the sale-can you believe all that stuff?)and time and praise God for His blessings on the day!

We're still waiting for firm travel dates so we can book our plane tickets. Hopefully we'll hear some news this week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Caleb's Book

One day, as part of Caleb's school lesson, I asked him to write a story. He made it about us going to Ethiopia to pick up his sisters. I just love this little book. He seems to really like art and draws constantly.

Our house.

Daddy, Caleb, Caroline and Colton playing soccer before we leave (I'm sure I'm inside packing:)

Flying on the American plane to Ethiopia.

Driving in the Ethiopian car (notice the flag colors on the car).

This is my favorite one-mommy and daddy "picking up" (and putting the girls on our heads) Hermela and Meron at the care center (nice brick building).

Flying home on the Ethiopian plane.
...and flying (he said, "It's a long way you know?").

Landing at home!!

Mommy, Daddy, Hermela and Meron coming of the plane.

All five kids of ours at home together at last-what a happy ending!

Ice Skating

Nick took Caleb on his ice skating field trip today. It was his first time and he did great! He said falling down was his favorite part.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Check out the December 6th post on another mom's blog at to find out more about sponsorship programs in Ethiopia. These children are not available for adoption. Sponsorship allows for them to receive food, shelter, medical care, education, and trade school or university as they get older. For just $34/month you can make a difference in a child's life!

Friday, December 4, 2009

We Passed!!!

Praise the Lord, we are a family of seven!!!! We are ecstatic and sooo relieved to be through the court process. Our girls are now officially our daughters. I was at work this morning, so this is a picture of the kids after I called home with the good news.

According to the laws in Ethiopia, an adopted child keeps their first name, has their adopted father's first name as their middle name, and their adoptive father's last name as their last name. So, their legal names that will appear on their Ethiopian birth certificates will be Hermela William Irvin and Meron William Irvin (not exactly what we would have picked for our little girls).
We have decided to continue our "C" naming tradition and give them the names Hermela Corrine Irvin and Meron Camille Irvin. We plan to call them by their Ethiopian names, unless they for some reason choose to go by their middle names.

I just can't believe that they are truly our girls-what an amazing Christmas gift (and birthday gift for daddy)!

We are filled with joy and give all glory to God!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Package

Our kids received a package from their South Carolina grandparents.
The bubble wrap was a big hit.

Colton loved the snow globe. Here he is saying "WOW!"

Colton claimed the globe. This is him screaming "MINE".

He mustered up a little self control for the final photo.

No News Today

Our case was not heard today, but is scheduled to be heard tomorrow. We are not sure why, but we're hopeful everything will go through tomorrow. The other family that had court today did pass, which is encouraging.

Keep praying!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Now?

Tonight, our case will go to court in Ethiopia. We've waited for this event since we started our journey over a year ago. Aside from actually going to meet our girls, this is probably the most important event in the process. We will officially be the legal parents of our daughters.

Please pray tonight that our court date will be successful and especially for the girls' mother who is required to be present in court for the hearing. She will permanently give away all rights to her children in a self-less act of love. I can't imagine her anguish. I pray that she will take comfort in knowing her daughters will be loved and well cared for.

Below is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman. To find out how you can help the orphan crisis, go to What Now?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Garage Sale Fundraiser

Saturday December 12th from 8-2 at our home!!

Garage sales are one of my least favorite things (along with fundraising of any kind). However, this cause is well worth the time and effort. Our goal is to help defer the cost of our plane tickets (the next big expense in the process). Our tickets will be a little more than we had originally expected (about $5000) Originally, we thought the kids would probably be under age 2 or at least one of them would, allowing for much cheaper tickets for them. We'll have to purchase two full price tickets for the girls now because they're older (well worth it of course).

So, we're calling for a mass garage/closet/storage building clean out. If you have anything that you'd like to get rid of, we'd love to take it off your hands. Please contact me at if you have any items you'd like to donate. We can arrange to pick the stuff up or you can drop it by.

Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone else that may be interested.

Starting the Season

We put the finishing touches on the Christmas Tree this afternoon. Colton had the honor of placing the angel on the tree (we did this first as he was melting and needed a nap). We were planning on putting the lights on last night when the kids were sleeping, but they were all burned out. I just had said how surprised I was that they had lasted 8 years (we got them the year we got married). Spoke too soon. So after church we stopped by Target to get new ones. After I got them all on and the tree decorated, I noticed that the top 2 strands were twinkling and the bottom one wasn't. I had bought one box of stationary lights unintentionally. So, our tree has extra character this year.

I also found something called a Jesse Tree on one of the blogs that I sometimes read (this familiy is also adopting from Ethiopia). It's a count down tree to Christmas that tells the history of the bible all the way up to the birth of Jesus. You can check it out on their site . The one she has is $100. Maybe I'll order it next year. This year, I found a site to print off the symbol ornaments and a site that has the bible verses and discussion for each day (under the parent devotional section). It takes 29 days to get through all the stories, so we're going to do 3 tonight to catch up.

4 Days Until Court (and this day is almost done)!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! We have much to be thankful for this year as always. We are especially thankful for these three reasons above and the two across the world. We can't wait to have all our most precious reasons home together next year.

One week until court!!!