Elise JoLea Linn

Elise JoLea Linn was born on Friday, October 17 at 5:30am. She was 8lbs 2 ounces. She's a healthy little girl who looks just like her daddy ... for now! :) I am so thrilled to have a new little neice to love. There's something about being bonded to a child that isn't yours. She's a small part of me, but she's not my responsiblility. In other words, I get to have lots of fun with her, spoil her, give her fun things her mom and dad wouldn't necessarily buy (like fish, gerbils, loud toys with bells & whistles, etc.). I get to be a fun aunt! Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better in life than being a great mom, but I'm looking forward to my new role as Aunt to my sister's daughter. Noah & Ella are excited to have a new cousin too. New life is truly so incredible. I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of this little sweetheart's world. Oh, and in case you wondered ... the "Lea" in "JoLea" is after me ... Jessica Lea! :) How fun is that?!?


Fall Fun!

I've been accumulating lots of fall photos over the last few weeks. Thought I'd post a few so you could see, rather than read, what we've been up to. There's not much better than fall in Michigan ... except maybe summer!


Paul's 1st 5k Run

Today Paul ran in his very first 5K run. It was to benefit the Holland Rescue Mission. The race began on Fairbanks near the Mission's Women & Children's Center, and looped around the Holland area. The kids and I cheered him on as he completed the run. We were so proud of him. Way to go, Paul!!!


Waiting is Hard to Do!

I haven't posted on the adoption progress in awhile, so for all you wondering where we're at ... I thought I'd write an update. Basically, we're waiting. We submitted our documents to the USCIS on August 27, and were told it's currently taking the agency 3 months to send us our approval (aka the "Golden Ticket"). We need the Golden Ticket to send with our dossier to Ethiopia (all our documents for the Ethiopian Government). If it really DOES take 3 months, then we won't have our golden ticket until the end of November, which seems a really long way off. I have to admit, even though it's only been a month, I still flip through the stack of mail pretty rapidly each afternoon ... hoping.

Once the Golden Ticket arrives, we still have lots more waiting to do ... waiting for the dossier to be translated and sent to Ethiopia, waiting for our referral (a picture and medical report of our child), waiting for a court date, waiting for a travel date, etc. So, my title of this blog "waiting is hard to do" will most likely become a common theme over the next 6-9 months!

We have a few more details to take care of in our dossier packet. We both need to get 6 passport pictures taken (even though we already have passports?!?) and submit our final book reports. Other than that, we're just waiting.

I've been reading a book "There is No Me Without You" by Melissa Fay Greene. It is a breathtaking story (true) of a woman in Ethiopia who, not by any plans of her own, begins to take in orphaned children. It also includes a fair amount of history on Ethiopia, the AIDS pandemic and other interesting topics. The book ends with several chapters on updates of kids who were in her orphanage, and are now with their American families. The book had opened my eyes to the extreme conditions these kids are faced with each day ... with the amount of loss they've faced in their short little lives. It is truly a desperate situation for so many. It gives me a very real sense of urgency. In 2005 Ethiopia had almost 4.5 MILLION orphans, with only 1.400 being adopted by families abroad. How is it even possible to imagine 4.5 Million children with no one to love them, no one to tuck them in at night, no one to explain the world to them, no one to treasure them. It's unimagineable. If these were US Children how differently we would react!!

On a lighter note, our basement is almost all cleared out and we're ready for construction to begin. We're going to be adding another bedroom, a bigger rec room & a snack bar area. I've been busy picking out carpet, cabinets, paint colors, furniture, etc and now we're just waiting for the dust to fly! I have a feeling my patience is going to be tested in lots of different ways over the next months.