Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DNA.

I've been having internet issues in our house and so haven't been able to post anything from our trip yet, but in the meantime, I figured I'd sneak in another post from my phone.

Last summer, for Anthony's birthday I had his DNA tested. Am I romantic or what?!


Anyway, it was really interesting and got us thinking about testing Nathan. As his parents, I guess we have really begun to embrace the idea that one of our roles is to help him get the fullest picture of his history as possible and testing his DNA seemed like a fun way to add to the picture he is developing.

Interestingly enough, I have heard over the last few months from the adoption group I am involved with on Facebook, that this can be a really important step for adoptees. For many, their country of origin is one of the only things they know for sure about themselves and what some are discovering is that while they have developed a bunch of their identity around being, say, Korean, they are in fact less than 50% Korean and it kind of throws them for a loop.

Funnily enough, I also had my DNA tested and after spending my entire 35 years thinking I was essentially German with my very German maiden name, I'm in fact less than 1% German!!  (My family is seriously scratching our heads on this one.)


Anyway, so we tested Nate too and here are his results...


Pretty cool, huh?  The Middle East thing was pretty interesting. We explained to him that that essentially meant a bunch of the places in the Bible.

Anyway, just a bit more of his story put together for him.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Home.

I promise to get back on here with more pictures and thoughts from our trip soon, but for now we are just enjoying time back home as a family.




Oh how it is good to be home.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

And we are on our way home!

And just like that our trip is over.  We only have lunch left to eat and then we head off to the airport!

There is so much more to share.  This trip has been incredible.  We have the greatest friends here, all of whom have played such important roles in our life, and our time with them has all been so sweet.

But we are also ready to head home.  We miss Lucy, Nathan, and Matthias so much.  We enjoy the time with just a couple of kids, but we are most at home when we are all together.  The thought of us all snuggling together on the couch Friday night just makes my heart ache.  Boy, do I love my family.  Only a day and a half of travel to go!!  Fingers crossed we don't look so green going home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Last full day.

Well, we are heading into our last full day here in Rwanda.  We have had such an amazing time.  Yesterday we did some shopping in a local market and toured a coffee plant.  There really hasn't been anything that we have wanted to do that we haven't been able to find time for, while at the same time the trip has been really relaxing, which has been great.  Kiki and I even found time to school the boys in cards last night.  All the important things.

Today we are travelling out to the area that Nathan is from, which we have never been to before and which has been the thing we have most wanted to do on this trip.  I couldn't sleep well at all last night because I just kept thinking about it.  Every little thing that makes us feel closer to him here is so precious and there are so many things here that do.

It is hard to explain how much this trip has meant to our entire family.  Nathan has been amazing every time we have had a chance to talk with him and the others.  He just bubbles over with excitement and talks and asks questions the entire time.  One of our primary goals in this trip was to let him know how important Rwanda is to us and help foster his love for this amazing place.  His excitement has really encouraged us that this is happening and we hope that his hearing from the girls now too, of their love for this place, will continue to move him closer to wanting to come here.

Well, I'll leave you with a few pictures Kiki had of Nate from before I had ever held my sweet boy.  (She even has a couple of videos that we had never seen!)



We are so blessed to get to do life with this little man.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kigali.

Well, we said our goodbyes to the Mbandas this morning and made our way back to Kigali. Our online situation is a little different here, so I'm pretty sure that we won't be able to post with pictures for the next couple of days.  But we are so glad to be here with our friends, talking of old times and catching up after nearly 4 years (almost 7 for Anthony).

Our hope is to spend the next couple of days shopping, treating the Burnfields to dinner out and a few other things, some little, some hopefully big.  I'll let you know...

Anyway, so our girls are giddy over the fact that their friends and brother and sister are just starting school now and they are playing with the Burnfield's dog and taking pictures of the view instead.  These girls have been amazing and have fallen in love with this country, just as we hoped they would.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Culture.

Today has been another great day, one full of culture. We started the day with going to church which not only gave us some exposure to the Anglican culture here in Rwanda but also the African culture of time. Four hour long service anyone?!  I personally will never tire of hearing God praised in my son's native language. Never.

The church.

We also had the most amazing time at the traditional village not far from here and at the foot of the gorillas' mountains. It is the most incredible little place that taught us so much and was beautifully done. I have some amazing videos that I will post when I get back, but for now here are a few pictures.

The Warriors that greeted us.

King and queen for the day.

With a real medicine man.

Anthony learning how to hunt. Wait until you see the video. Ha!

The girls joining a wedding procession.

Doing a little drumming.

It was truly amazing.  We told them all about Nate and promised them we would bring him someday soon. And we will...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Such a great day!

Today has been better than we could have hoped for.

As it turned out, Sonrise, the boarding school that the New Hope Homes' kids attend, was having their high school graduation this morning which we attended.  It was such a great experience because we were able to see some singing and dancing (including a group of Burundian students!) and had a chance to see all of the NHH kids that attend school there.


The girls with the younger NHH kids that attend Sonrise.


Seeing Dorcus, the girl that we have helped send to school for the last 3 years, was definitely something the girls were excited about.

We also saw the older kids who all remembered Nate from when he was a baby.  Chantal always described him as "Daniel, with the crazy mohawk" because he had such crazy hair as a baby...and his name was Daniel.  The hair was always what jogged the kids memories. Ha!

After that we spent a couple of hours at NHH with the younger kids, touring the new home and just playing with the kiddos. I impressed everyone (including myself!) with remembering each of the kids' names when we first got there.  I guess in a way they feel like part of Nate's first family, so how could I not?!  Of course all of the pictures I took are on our big camera and I have some videos that I can't add here now but I'll try to post them after we get back.

So far this trip has absolutely been worth it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

We made it!

Well, we are feeling a little green after all of the traveling, but we are here and are just so glad to be. The trip was uneventful but long. And definitely pushed the girls to their limits. They were amazing but struggled sleeping on the planes and both got motion sickness when we reached Kigali.

But we are all about to crawl into bed at the Mbandas' and are excited about tomorrow. We are going to New Hope Homes and a graduation at the boarding school that many of the NHH kids attend.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from our day...

Elise and I in Doha, Qatar, after our 12.5 hour flight from Philly.

Tone and the girls passed out on our two hour drive to Musanze. Could they look more pitiful?!

I, on the other hand, enjoyed the beautiful drive!  Oh how I love this country.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On our way!!

Well, we said our goodbyes to three of my most favorite people...


And are on our way!!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's been a while...

So, I haven't blogged in a bit.  I guess I am in that stage in the adoption when I am just sad.  Waiting is so hard and hearing nothing just messes with my heart.  I want to see her face.  To know the little information that we can about her.  To have that promise that we been matched and that it's just a matter of papers moved and signed and time and she can be ours.

And I'm also overwhelmed by the knowledge that she will be available to be in our family only because she is going through heartbreaking things right now.  I want to hold her and comfort her and help her begin her long road of healing.  So it can be hard to know what to say on here.

BUT…

My hope is that I will be blogging on here quite a bit in the next week and a half because tomorrow Anthony and I are jumping on a plane with Adele and Elise and heading to Rwanda!  We are beyond excited (read stressed out, halfway packed and driving each other nuts) and can't believe that we are making this trip.  It wasn't what we had set out to do, but we are all really excited about it.  Originally our plan had been to take Elise this spring to Burundi to get to see and know the country a little bit and then take Adele to Burundi when we travelled to pick up our daughter.  But, long story short, the trips to Burundi weren't going to happen and so we thought that taking them to Rwanda would be the next best thing.

I want to make a point of saying that Nathan is THRILLED that we are going to HIS Rwanda.  He has absolutely been a part of the conversation revolving around this trip and is really excited about his sisters going.  We have also told him that whenever he is ready to go we will take him, which he is really excited about AND not at all interested in doing right now.  I'm sure some people will find it odd that we are taking the girls without him, but for us it shows our continued love for the country that gave us our first son and it means a lot to him…so there you go.

Anyway, so our plan is to spend some time in Musanze with the Mbandas and in Kigali with the Burnfields and just enjoy the heck out of those hills and the beautiful people who get to call them home.

I can't believe we are leaving tomorrow!!

So please pray for our trip.  For our safe travels.  For our girls who are about to have their eyes opened. Pray that it will help them understand their brother and future sister in a way that only being there can do.  Oh, and I'm sure all the grandmas (and Papa) would appreciate some prayers as they take turns caring for our other three kiddos.

And pray for Nate, that our trip will show him how much we love that part of who he is.  And pray for Lydia, that this will help us to feel closer to her and that somehow God will begin to let her heart know that we are here.