Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big News

Happy 3rd Birthday Lennah

The girls at Halloween

I have been the world's worst blogger. I know it has been more than two months, Halloween gone, Thanksgiving gone, and no posts. Life has been busy with two little ones, school (still working on my doctorate), and work. The girls are doing great and growing like weeds. Delylah is certainly developing a little temper. Last week she told me I was mean because I wouldn't let her do something. Lennah continues to be my wild child but just as loveable as ever. Lennah also had her third birthday but we are not celebrating officially until January 9th since we decided to have both girls birthday parties together this year. Delylah is almost at two although she tells everyone she is two now. These two just continue to bring such joy to our lives.

On that note we are excited to announce that we are about to begin another journey. We have decided to pursue an adoption in Rwanda. This time things will be handled so differently because we are not using an agency since that is what the Rwandan government prefers. We are also looking to adopt a son this time since we have two daughters. It will definitely be a journey. I am sure the process will not go as quickly as last because it will be trial and error but I have become an expert at paperwork at this point so it is a feat we are willing to undertake. I guess with another impending adoption I will be posting more since so much of the blog was decidated to the wait of the girls. Too bad I have been so bad about blogging since Delylah has come home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Almost 2 months

Wow! I cannot believe I have not made a post in almost two months. We have had some wonderful times in the past several weeks. A few weeks ago we met up with two other families with children from Vietnam. This was a wonderful experience. It was also amazing how we run into people as well since one of the families we had actually met in Vietnam at the airport in Hanoi while we were waiting to return home. The girls had a great time and it was wonderful to see Lennah get to hang out with other children who have found their forever families who are from Vietnam.
We have also had an Ethiopian get together at a local restaurant to celebrate Delylah's heritage. It was wonderful to see so many families together with all their children. The girls had a great time playing but were not so into the Ethiopian food. Next time I think we will be packing a lunch for the girls. We also had a cribmate reunion while we were there. It is amazing to watch three beautiful children who were together in Ethiopia, in a crib, growing up together in Atlanta.
With Halloween approaching we also took a family day and headed to a pumpkin patch. I have to say this was one of the best ones that we had been to. The kids loved playing with the animals and just running around. These are the best times when Keith and I could take the kids out for the day and just spend some time hanging out watching the kids enjoy themselves.
As for the girls in general they are growing like weeds. Delylah is talking up a storm and is so cute when she strings her words together. Today when my dad was leaving she said Bye Bye Big Ba. It was too cute. Lennah is learning away learning letters and numbers and not to mention that Delylah is learning along with her. When we count with Lennah, Delylah will yell out the numbers she knows. When we say five she says six.
Lennah has also become the little helper. She helps me bake cookies and even tries to help with the laundry. Other than that the girls are doing great and it has been a fun past two months.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gotcha Day Delylah

What a smile
That is one happy baby

Delylah trying on her Halloween costume

It is amazing that Delylah has been in our arms for a year. This day last year I landed in Addis Ababa alone because Keith stayed home with Lennah and was petrified; I was in a strange country and would have to get to know our new baby alone. Little did I know that a year later we would love this baby more than we ever dreamed. Delylah has been a blessing to our family. Lennah will not have to grow up an only child and we have been blessed twice over. In the past year we have seen Delylah go from a baby that was delayed from being in an orphanage into a brillant child and energetic child. She couldn't sit on her own but within a few weeks she was sitting, soon crawling, and walked a week shy of 11 months old. Now she runs all over the house but does have two left feet and trips a lot, she talks up a storm, and has learned how to hold her own when her sister does not feel like being cooperative. I could not have asked from a better gift from God than to be the mommy to two beautiful girls.
My only wish as I look back on this day is that Keith and Lennah could have been there to share in the joy of gotcha day. Adoption is not a cheap route to have a family and two babies back to back made the decision difficult to chose to go meet Delylah alone. However, a week later we were united as a family of four and it was like a second gotcha day all over.
Here are some then and now pictures of our little princess. Gosh she has grown.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Girls

Today is the most wonderful day of the year. We have so much to celebrate on July 23rd every year the adoption miracle of both our girls. Things are laid out in our lives that we truly have no control over because God is in charge and want a wonderful thing he did for us when he made us parents to our girls exactly one year apart. This very day two years ago was the day we were in Vietnam and signed our names on the official documents to become Lennah's mommy and daddy. It was a quick sign here and there and that was it but it is a day that we will never forgot. Last year we were in agony believing that Delylah would never come home when I checked my email in the morning and received an email from our agency to call them and be near a computer when I phoned them. I immediately called them and they sent the email saying that the Ethiopian courts accepted the police report and did not need to present the birth mom since she was untraceable and that Delylah was officially our daughter because the courts granted her adoption. What a miracle day it will always be for us. Delylah was not able to be covered in hugs and kisses on that day since the adoption was final because I got her home but I assure you that she gets kisses and hugs every day to make up for it.

Today we celebrated this day by giving the girls each a little present. Lennah has really been wanting trains so we got her a little Thomas the train set and Delylah is into music so we got her and adorable disney princess book that comes with a music player. The girls were so excited to unwrap their presents. We took the girls out for the entire day to celebrate. We went to Meskerem in Atlanta for lunch. Unfortunately the girls are not to crazy about Ethiopian food but hopefully it will grow on them. Delylah just chowed down on injera and Lennah just wanted potatoes and carrots. From there we took the girls to Atlanta Puppetry arts since on Thursday afternoons they were having a free museum exhibit but unfortunately Lennah was terrified of the puppets and we had to leave. We spent the rest of the day shopping with the girls and went to a Veitnamese restuarant for dinner which the girls both loved. They can certainly eat a lot of rice. It was a great day spent as a family.

Here are our pics from the day and a look back at Lennah's adoption day. I wish I had pictures of Delylah's adoption day but again we weren't in Ethiopia yet but she was in our heart this very day last year.

Lennah on her adoption day July 23, 2007


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day

Two Years Later

Lennah's Gotcha Day Photos

It was two years ago today that we met our beautiful oldest daughter. It is hard to believe that it has only been two years that we have been Lennah's mommy and daddy because it seems like she has been apart of our family forever. Recently we have been watching videos of our time in Vietnam and sharing with lennah her story and how mommy and daddy came to get her in Vietnam. This is something that is still hard for her to grasp but she will tell you that she is from Nam and wants to watch the baby in Nam on TV. She has truly been a blessing in our lives and in many ways she paved the way for us to become parents twice.
I think back to that first day and being so in awe on becoming a mommy. She was a cheerful little baby and still is today. As a matter of fact she has always been full of energy and for those of you who know her can attest to that fact. She has grown so much in so many ways and so have we as a family because of her. We just want her to know that we love her more than words can express and we are so thankful that God chose us to raise this beautiful little girl. We also thank her other mommy who gave her to us. We know it was a hard decision to make and because of her love we were able to become parents and for that we will be eternally greatful.

In two years we have seen Lennah go from being a 7 1/2 month old who could already hold herself up and walk around furniture into an almost 32 month old who has a serious mind of her own. She likes to pick out her outfits for the day, likes to help mommy on some days, gets into mischief on others, can recognize letters of the alphabet, shapes, sizes, colors, etc. All in all we have one smart little girl. She also never forgets anything so don't try to pull a fast one on her.

On a second note it was one year ago today that we were waiting for decision from the Ethiopian courts granting Delylah's adoption. We received a devastating phone call saying that the courts wanted the birth mother produced to grant the adoption and we were told that this would not happen because she was homeless and untraceable. It was devestating news and we thought Delylah would never be brought home but miracles do happen (More to follow on this story coming up Thursday).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jamie's Visit

Lennah's adoption not only touched out lives by making us parents but also by bringing a special person into my life who hopefully will be a life long friend. After we found out about Lennah some how ( I cannot remember how) but we got in contact with another family who on the same day accepted the referral of a little girl. Shortly after they got her referral we got in contact with each other and quickly hit it off as friends. This has been a wonderful friendship for us because her daughterLilly comes from the same orphanage as Lennah and hopefully the two girls will grow in a friendship that because of Jamie and my friendship they will be able to maintain. After we adopted our girls we went through our second adoptions together and she brought home a spirited little boy named Abel and I adopted Delylah who are both from the same orphanage. We hope that they might have a life long bond as well. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart our friendship is one that is based on the love of our children and she is a friend that hopefully we will stay connected and keep bringing our families together. Recently we were blessed with a visit from Jamie and her family and it was a great one. We started off her visit with a get together from the other Illien families who have adopted from Ethiopia and had a wonderful time. We also took all the kids to the American Girl store. WE had some other fun times bringing the kids to the museum and waterpark and watching their friendships develop (Lennah was not very social in the beginning of their visit being the selfish that toy is mine child that she is). We had a great time and hopefully this pictures will do her visit justice. We loved getting to know her older girls Chloe and Wesleigh. We are just so fortunate for her friendship. I have loved having such a great friend to turn too when we need advice on anything.