Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Check out this great website...


Cute photos of a beautiful baby.
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Proud Grandpa.


Micah and his cute turkey.


In Ethiopia at the Ethiopian Guest House.

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After our first plane trip. She is such a happy camper!

Sarah trying out the Rwandan way of life.


On the 17 hour leg of the plane trip home. What was I worried about???


Sister love.

Ethiopia - We are not in Kansas anymore!

This will be my new edition - coming soon:)

"Rwanda - Africa for Beginners"

I love Nyanja's quote about Rwanda. She is totally right as far as the amount of Africa I saw (which of course was very limited). Rwanda is a beautiful place to begin a trip to Africa and ease in to the African culture. Kigali is a beautiful city kept clean religiously with beautiful people that are as a group, the friendliest I have encountered in my life. Prepare yourselves for stares. Not rude stares. Interested, questioning stares. Accompanying the stare will be a smile and a wave. Life goes by at a different pace in Rwanda. I quickly learned not to look at my watch. Things would happen eventually. And happen they did. It was truly amazing how God worked out the details while we were there. Countless times over the week my doubtful mind would taunt me with “knowledge” that this cannot happen in one weeks time. There are not enough hours in the day for every piece to be completed, especially when one of the offices had called an emergency meeting and they were not able to do what we thought could be done early in the morning (9am) until late in the afternoon (about 5pm). Even with a WHOLE day “glitch” I could hear God soothing my fears, seemingly asking if I trusted Him and His timing. One thing that really struck me while in Rwanda and Ethiopia both were the things often not seen here. People I did not know, people who would not receive anything from me, bending over backwards trying to be helpful and going that extra mile to help us. I don’t want to be misunderstood. There are many kind people in America. So often I have been touched by the kindness of strangers here. So often in my life have people come alongside me and lifted me up. Maybe the difference is that in Rwanda, government officials and business workers were willing to do things outside of status quo. I must say this is not typical here, though even this happens in America. One of the dear people I have been privileged to meet was an AT&T phone operator who went that extra mile to help a stranger on her way to Rwanda. She will probably never know that I think of her kind words and helpful spirit often. I guess the world is full of beautiful people. Rwanda has more than their share of them though!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Welcome Home Aliya Grace

I so want to update my blog for the days that we missed while in Ethiopia, but it will not be tonight:) Tonight we are cuddling and reuniting and turning in early. I do want to share a couple of irristable photos and thank everyone for the prayers for our family. God has worked in marvelous ways and I want to share in detail soon. In the meantime, here are some winning pictures:)

The kids all together at long last.


I think he likes her:)


It has been a LOOONG day. It tuckers a girl right out to travel from Ethiopia and meet her new siblings!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Day three in pictures.


Yes, we DID see an elephant in Rwanda!


One of the poorer areas.


Our guest house - The Banana House
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She smiles!





This last photo was taken near where Aliya was found abandoned in February.
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Today was a day of much paperwork. We started our day at Immigration, then on to the Ministry of Family and Gender, then to the Embassy, then back to Ministry. We began at 8am and finished at about 6:30pm. Great news! We were able to get our paperwork signed from them Ministry. This was HUGE, because there was a time period in which we were quite unsure of the completion. There was a misspelled word that almost delayed our trip, but our guide is super fantastic on the job and was able to give assitance as needed. Even better news, we are going to pick Aliya up in the morning at 7am (that is Midnight your time) and never take her back to the orphanage. Final piece of wonderful news, we are REALLY really trying to get everything done tomorrow and be on a plane to Ethiopia TOMORROW at 4:15! This is so unbelievable. When we signed up we thought we would be in Rwanda for two weeks. If we leave tomorrow we will have been here for all of 3 days! Thank you to all who have prayed us through this! Ahh, since you are praying, obviously, could you add my headaches to the list? Everyday at about 3 or so in the afternoon one hits and by about 6 a migraine hits. I am sure it is jetlag/stress. All in all this has been a wonderful, eye-opening adventure. Signing out for today...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aliya Grace Farrand - Our meeting Day




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This is the referral picture

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Good Times

HOOORAY!!! We are RIGHT now sitting at the cafe sipping mango smoothies and playing with the most beautiful baby in the world. She is wonderful.

Thoughts over the Atlantic

Greetings from somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. I can scarecly take it all in. This is the beginning of a new chapter. This is what the wait has been all about. In near about 12 hours the wait will begin fading from our memories and in its place, joy. So far the journey has been good. Can you believe that Ryan and I were an answer to someone else's prayer? We arrived at the airport at the zippy hour of 4am, feeling slightly loopy from the 2 1/2 hours sleep that we managed the previous night. When we arrived at the ticket counter we found that we had beat the agents to their posts by 30 minutes. Within the first minute of arriving we had already met someone that sounds a little bit like me. Try this out. She is on her way to Ethiopia (remember, we are at Metro, just trying to make it to Washington DC where we will get our ticktes for Ethiopian Air), she is on the same flight as we are, she has one of her bags packed with items she will be taking to the orphanage she plans on visiting. She homeschools her three children, (2 boys, 1 girl) and she used to be a teacher. She is a Christian. Oh, and her name is Juile. Yeah. Julie is traveling alone to Ethiopia and ultimately Kenya and was a little nervous over the entire ordeal. She prayed that she would meet someone so she would not be alone. We were able to arrange seats together and it has been nice getting to know her. She is a gifted singer and she allowed us to download her song called "The Promise" that speaks of the faithfulness of God and being steadfast during the wait. I know God intended for me to hear that song today!

When we arrive in Kigali it will be about noon their time. I hope to drop off our bags and jet over to the orphanage. Sunday we are going to have a chance to visit a local church, go sightseeing, and of course visit with our daughter. Please pray for our time in Rwanda especially. There is the chance that we could leave Rwanda a day or two early which would actually make Ethiopia a much easier visit as well. Please also pray that we will not get sick! This is a concern of mine in our third world country! Pray that our hearts will be touched forever from Aliya's orphanage and birthplace, and that we will take proper steps to honor that touch. This is a big deal! And please pray for family at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Flight Information

We have our flights! We leave Metro Airport at 6 am this Friday the 14th and will travel 23 hours to Kigali arriving at 5 am our time, noon local time. I just checked the weather and it is predicting rain all week until Saturday where they are certainly rolling out the welcome banner with 77 degrees and sunny from there on out! How kind for them to arrange this for us. Our return flight leaves on Thanksgiving Day. This Thanksgiving will be a memorable one! We leave Addis Ababa at 3pm our time and arrive home 7pm the next day. Twenty-eight hours of travel with a little girl that does not even know us yet seems a bit daunting at the moment. But, we have made it through other "daunting" moments, and this one will be with a very joyful reunion/meeting at the end of it on which to keep our eyes focused.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Look What Joshua Taught Me How To Do!

Praise God

We received word this afternoon that Lesly is officially a Farrand! This is music to my weary ears. I have been flying. We will soon purchase tickets for next Saturday (I think). There is a sliver of a chance we could be home for Thanksgiving! The time required in Ethiopia has been cut in half, but the Rwanda portion of the trip is very much an unsure thing. Pray for our in-country representative that she is able to make connections and appointments in the most time effective way.

Thank you to all who have been praying for us and encouraging us along our way. I am ever so anxious to post from Rwanda with pictures of our beautiful baby girl. She is adorable!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Update on Court

Thank you to all who have been praying for our family and our little girl. Word came today that the court date today DID happen, but no decision has been given. Thursday is the day that we are hoping to have a favorable decision. A few more pins and needles. The timing WILL be perfect. As of Thursday, assuming a decision has been reached and communicated (and positive) we will make our flight arrangements. Now we are praying again for timing to be God's perfect timing, not our rush. Interestingly, I heard today that flights may be going down in price by 30% :). Also interestingly enough, Ryan may have to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa in the next few weeks for work! It might really be nice if this could be in conjunction with this trip, rather than have him come all the way home just to board another plane.