Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In only 7 days....

This girl has stolen my heart. Who am I kidding? She had my heart since I saw her referral picture. But it's been an amazing week of getting to know my Melia Serawit. It's been 7 days almost to the hour (Addis is 8 hours ahead and I have jet lag so I've been up since 3am). Here's 7 things I've learned about my baby girl.....

1. She has an amazing smile, with a little dimple on her right cheek. She made us work so hard the first few days to see the smile, now it comes so easily.
2. Amazing communicator. She gets her point across without using words. It's usually pretty clear what she wants and at this point usually gets it:) She says "in-na" when she wants some thing and often and speaks African baby talk.
3. Loyal. She was so attached to her special nannies she wanted nothing to do with us for a good 24 hours. Now that she's used to us, she's stuck like glue.
4. Shy. She has an amazing personality but when a stranger talks to her, she buries her head. Once she pretended to be asleep so a man in the airport would stop
talking to her. Pretty smart! I might try that.
In this picture she's hiding from one of her nannies.
5. She loves to giggle. Her rolly poly belly so ticklish. She loves to be tickled.
6. Super Expressive. The face she makes speaks volumes about what she's thinking. She's got a smile that could light up the room and can turn on the tears so fast and melt your heart.

7. She loves us and we love her!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meanwhile, on the home front....

Caleb, Nathan and Addie have been hanging out with the Schroeder Family in North Carolina for over a week now. They have been busy playing with their cousins Randy, Alex and Abigail, as well as spreading their ever popular potty "butt crack" talk across the country. They have certainly been missing their Mommy and Daddy, but are enjoying the change of scenery. The had a great time looking at all the pictures of Melia. Addie thought that Melia was Micah. All the previous pictures Melia didn't have hair, so she was confused. While viewing the sleeping picture Nathan asked "She's not dead, just sleeping right??" All the Gothros are excited to be together as a family!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Doing well!

I don't have any real updates from Micheal and Lauren. I've chatted with Lauren over gmail and text. Today Lauren said it was their "best day yet". She said that Melia loves her now! Yea!! They had a cultural dinner as well. They are ready to head home and start life as a family of 6!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update from Michael - Day 2 with Melia

The American Embassy in Ethiopia (if I remember correctly). The grounds of the embassy are beautiful. It is surrounded by high walls. You have to go through metal detectors and can't bring in a camera or any other electronics.

Hey Everyone,

We are having a delightful day with Melia today. We have been with her for about 24 hours now, and she has come a long way in warming up to us and showing us her soul. We had our Embassy appointment this morning, which gave us about 3 hours of waiting time to just hang out with Melia. By the end of our time there, Lauren was playing peek-a-boo with Melia while I held her…and she could not stop cracking up! It was great to hear her laugh. She took a great nap on the way home and back at the hotel. When she woke up, (about 20 minutes ago), she cried again when Lauren went to get her up and wouldn’t stop until I held her. I guess I finally have a “Daddy’s Girl”!

Lauren told me today that she feels a little bad that we are taking Melia away from her homeland. Ethiopia is such beautiful country which is steeped in rich culture and history. Lauren’s take on American culture was “Money and McDonalds”.

We are going to have to switch the diapers we brought with some bigger ones from Hannah’s Hope. Melia is quite the chunky baby. I have never seen thighs so big! I’ll bet she is definitely heavier than Addie is…who knows, she might even be heavier than Nathan! Almaz said that she was malnourished when she came to Hannah’s Hope 3 months ago. She is certainly not anymore, and has shown us why with her veracious appetite.

We are working on getting some pictures sent out. The Facebook texting is not working for pictures. A couple in our group have a thumb drive that we can borrow, but they have not been able to download picture from it on the hotel computer, so we will investigate more options. Love you all.

Michael & Lauren

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Together at last!!!

We have Melia! She is so adorable and certainly strong willed! She has been having a rough go so far, but she is tired and will fall asleep quickly. She is also warming up to us. She seems to feel a little more comfortable with me (Michael) so far, which is what the family education lady from our agency said might happen since I do not share the same gender as her special moms. Lauren just fed her a bottle and she downed it in about a minute. I seriously think she weighs more than Addie! She is definitely not 12 months, but more like 7 to 9 months, so her May 14 birth date could very well be accurate.

**Lauren said that they are not able to send pictures at all!!! I have charged her to find a thumb drive somewhere in the city of Addis Ababa!! She has nothing else to do after all. ; )

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Arrival - Day One

*I (Aimee) added pictures just for your visual pleasure. Bole Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Shopping in Addis

Lauren and I arrived safely in Addis Ababa a little after 9 am this morning (Saturday). By the time we got our visas, made it through customs, retrieved all of our bags (yeah! All of our bags made it!), and arrived at the hotel, we were pretty wiped out.

We took a little nap, ate lunch, and then decided to see the city a bit. We took some cabs with two other couples, went to the Hilton to exchange some money, and then went shopping at an Ethiopian Market for a few hours. Shopping turned out to be pretty draining, as we were swarmed with kids who turned on the tears for us and were infatuated with the suckers we were passing out. Trying to convert Birr to American dollars while assessing the value of an item, all on minimal sleep proved to be quite a chore. We were happy to get our shopping in today though, so that the rest of the week we can just hang out together with Melia.

Speaking of Melia, we will go to the orphanage tomorrow, (Sunday), at 1:30 pm (5:30 am EST) to get her. We had originally thought that we were going to get her in the morning, but they actually changed the time on the itinerary with white out, so everyone in our travel group was a bit disappointed. The waiting is almost over though, and we are brimming with anticipation. We will send more updates when we can. Not sure about pictures or videos, as the computer at the hotel does not have the right hookup for our memory stick. Love you all. Please forward this on to your respective families.

Michael & Lauren

8:00 pm local time, Saturday

Friday, December 11, 2009


These are the first glimpses of Melia Serawit. Can't wait till we all get to see the "real" thing!!

Am I dreaming?!?

It's 2:30am right now and Michael and I are headed to the airport in less than an hour (thanks mom and dad). It seems so surreal. I've been hoping and praying and crying and whining for this trip and it's here! I can't believe it. I am so ready to bring our sweet pea home.

Yesterday, I flew to NC with the kids, we had a great day with everyone hanging out (some of us were a little loopy from getting up so early). I flew out of Charlotte that same night. I had a hard time leaving them without the ugly cry face. I rushed out of the house so they wouldn't be left with that face on their minds:) So in my haste I left many a things behind....many important things. 3 of which were my kiddos but that was on purpose, you wouldn't have known it by how I was crying, but yes I knew it was coming. 1 was my wallet, which included my id I would need to get onto my flight, my awesome brother-in-law rescued me and brought my wallet just in time. And I left my camera, but my sisters are great and I'm borrowing theirs. I left one in NC and I'm bringing 2 to Ethiopia, just in case:) Thanks family for picking up my slack!

So, with all the craziness of leaving my brain behind and the shear exhaustion of being at the airport with 3 kids at 5:30am and flying with them then leaving them. I was a wreck. My ugly cry face turned into crazy blotchy face. I stopped in the bathroom on the way to board the plane, and let's just say I shouldn't have. I looked beat down. This is confirmed by the sympathy looks I got at every turn. I didn't care though, I was missing my children and I was letting all my emotions out!

Then I went home and slept (through the night, no interruptions!) and I felt much more emotionally stable. My kids are going to have an awesome time and have so much fun with the S fam. They get to play outside, which in Michigan we are avoiding at all costs because it's insanely cold. Anyway, I know this is best for them. Please pray for them....that they'd not be sad and miss us too much. Caleb has a hard time spending the night away from home and he's pretty analytical so he's been missing us. Pray that the S fam would be blessed for all the love they're giving to my babies.

Ok, longer post than I was intending.....
Almost time! I'm hoping to update while we are gone, but the internet is sketchy in Addis.
Thanks so much for all your prayers. I am ever amazed at how the Lord has used so many people to help bring us to where we are now. I feel so supported and loved. Thanks and keep praying!

The kids were awesome on the flight to NC. The boys were so cute pulling their little rolling suitcases through the airport and giving the security guys high fives. They were like little celebrities. Addie was a little high maintenance on the flight but that's to be expected from a 2 year old. Our flight left at 7am and we had a lot of business men sitting around us. They were very nice and most of them slept soundly through the whole flight, which is a testament to my kids behavior:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My babies are cute

My babies are leaving tomorrow. I'm feeling a little sad. I know it's going to be fine but I'm just going to miss them. But then I've already missed so much of Melia's little life. Anyway, leaving them for 11 days is sad. Don't get me wrong...there are some days that I think I need to get away from these little people, but not 11 days worth of being away.

I know that they will be fine and they are so excited about it so that makes it way easier to go. They were just so stinking cute tonight....

Addie was dancing like a crazy lady. My girl's got moves!
While I was playing dragons and knights with Caleb tonight, I was trying to be cool and creative and I said "hey guy come over here, look I found magic bombers" and Caleb just cracked up, he couldn't stop laughing and saying "magic bombers" over and over again. Apparently, I'm not very good at that imagination game.
Then when I was putting the boys to bed I started singing "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" and Nathan looked at me and said "Mommy, I love this song. This is the song I wanted you to sing. I love you." Then planted a big kiss on me.
See why it's hard to leave.

There's also a list of things that make me want to run away sometimes but that's for another time:)

Monday, December 7, 2009

My bags are packed....

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

But I do know when I'll be back again:) December 18th, with my baby!!! For those of you who are interested, you can meet us at the airport our flight gets in at 2pm.

The only catch is....we want our kids to be the first kids to meet Melia and they aren't coming home until Sunday (my sister and my niece are flying them home a few days later so we can catch up on our sleep and Melia can have some quiet time in her new home). So, no kids allowed at the airport:)

I feel like the rule lady these days...."you can't hold my baby" and "no kids can meet her until..." But it's such a delicate process and we feel like we need to think about what's best for our family during this adjustment time.

Ummm...I was really planning on just posting these pictures so you can see what I've been doing these past couple of days, but I started singing that song and got off track. Anyway....

The kid's stuff for NC

The Donations
that Michael amazingly fit into
these 3 bags!
And they weigh under 5o lbs.

The girls' closet

To do.... pack for Africa!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Packing, packing, packing

Here are all the donations that we've received so far. We still have a few more donations coming in. Lots of formula, diapers, bedding sets for HH, basketballs, flax seed oil and multivitamins.
Thank so much to everyone who donated these supplies. Thank you to those who gave cash donations we are going to give it the orphanage director, and we may have to use some of it to pay the airlines if they charge us for the extra luggage.

I'd like to say that I've been packing, packing, packing but it's been going very slowly. I have the kids' stuff mostly packed and they are so pumped to head to North Carolina and spend 11 days with my sister and her family. I made a package for the kids for each day--a note and a little present for each child. I've packed most of their clothes, but I need to do laundry and figure out what to put in their carry-ons. Our flight to NC leaves at 7 am on the 9th, which means we'll head to the airport around 5. I'll get to hang out a bit in NC then my flight leaves that same night at 7pm. I'm going to miss my little guys so much!!

So, I'll have all day Thursday to finish packing for Ethiopia. Our flight leaves at 6 am for DC, we'll have to leave for the airport around 3am. I'm excited to meet up with a few other families from our agency in DC. Then our Ethiopian Air flight leaves at 9:30am and arrives in Addis Ababa Ethiopia at 8:30 am Saturday.

We'll meet our sweet girl on Sunday! I can't believe it's all really happening! This time next week hopefully all our bags will be packed and we'll be ready to jet:)