Monday, January 10, 2011


Okay, so we have been home for almost two months now and I am just now posting the first official pictures of our Sitota Joy.
So, to all five of my blog readers, I profusely apologize, but have just been enjoying being Sitota's mother so much that I really haven't been concerned about much else. So, without further adieu, especially for all of my agency friends, I introduce you to Sitota Joy!

She is doing great and enjoying the winter and all of the snow! Mostly because that means lots of snuggle time with everyone and many giggles with brother. She has gained a pound every two weeks since she has been home and that makes Momma very happy! I almost hate to report this (for all those barely-getting-any-sleep mommas), but she sleeps through the night already! She must have known that I needed that; not being an early riser. We had a wonderful Christmas and celebrated Gena, Ethiopian Christmas, with tibs, injera and shiro. Well, Sitota just had baby food, but she enjoyed watching us all eat the Ethiopian foods. I wonder if she misses Ethiopia as much as Chris and I do? We are thinking about a way to get back to Addis sometime in the next couple of years to help at HH. What an incredible place!

Sitota Joy and proud big brother, Tony

What a great way to start a new year! We have so much to be thankful for. To be on this end of the journey is sure a relief, but I would do it all over again without hesitation. Sometimes I look at her with awe that she is really mine; well, at least on loan to me. We did meet her birth-mother and I think about her often. I can only describe that experience as being eternal, other-worldly and priceless. There are some things in this world that won't ever seem "fair" or "equitable", but when I look at Sitota and remember the "gift" that her mother gave her by giving her life, I know that God is sovereign, loving and merciful. The gift that we can give her, and her birth-mother, is to point her to our loving God. So, that someday when we give her back to Him; she knows Him by name!

Happy Gena! Happy New Year! From the Smith family...all FOUR of us!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Projects for Baby 'S'!!!!!!

Just had to share the projects I have been working on. The book is to take with us on our first trip....(which by the way is in exactly 17 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and to leave there for our daughter to look at until we return. Hopefully she will enjoy looking at our pictures, and biting and drooling all over the book, which is just fine. That's why I made it soft and squishy! I have been working on that book for a few weeks and had to finish it by hand since my sewing machine is acting up. I am not a great seamstress, but can get things done, and it was so bright and cheery it was fun to do. I didn't show the last page, but it has a little mirror for her to look at herself and see herself as part of our family now, too!

The little onesie is to take for the second trip. I stitched that little Africa on (copied the idea from so many that have gone before me!) I can't wait to get to dress her myself!!!!! PINK, PINK and more PINK!!!!!

We are so thankful to our church for all of the wonderful stuff that they have collected to bring to the orphanage. My mother and friends have also been collecting goods and I have gotten money to buy supplies from both of our families. What a treat to get to spend it on these kids. Tony loves looking at all of the stuff we have collected and thinking about the kids enjoying it all. We will have to carefully pack and weigh, then repack and weigh again, and figure out how to spread all these goods out between the two trips. We have so much to take! It is very exciting! I began gathering toiletries and such, and for a clothes-horse like me, I have already laid in bed many nights trying to figure out how to fit all of my clothes into one carry-on....scary! I really want to travel light, so I will have to just trust in the Lord on this one.

We are also having a 3-day lay-over in London on the way back and are very excited about that. Neither of us have been to London, so not a bad 10-year anniversary trip (6 months late, but hey?!). It seems like we have been waiting forever and now it's just a few workdays, a couple of weekends, a camping trip, some soccer games, cub scout meetings, pot-lucks and loads of laundry away! Can't believe it! In 17 days I will hold my daughter for the first time, and be a blubbering mess. I hope she isn't scared. I know that I am. But the good kind of scared, like the "in awe, fear of the Lord" kind of scared. What a wonderful gift Love is. Can't wait to share it with our daughter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Amharic for "family" (phonetic spelling). We have been talking a lot about that lately at our house. Without giving too much away that is particular to our son, Tony, we have had to revisit what it means to be a part of a family recently. As we have been preparing for the arrival of Baby 'S', he has been dealing with his own heart. Because of his own adoption story, he has faced some pretty big questions lately; like where is his place after this baby comes? Will he still have a place?

As heartbreaking as it is to think that he still struggles with these things, I try to remain calm and imagine what the Father would say. How many times have I acted like I wasn't sure that I was a "family girl", forever etched on God's heart, a part of His Kingdom, His family! How many times have I looked around and wondered if I was good enough. It takes us all a while to really "act" like and then "know that we know" we are one of His! We have been using that term "family boy" (I didn't come up with this, lest you think that I am clever, but read a good book) with Tony a lot. I think he understands it now. When he seeks out the "family-like" closeness from someone other than Chris and I, we pull him aside and say "you're not really being a family boy right now, do you want to try again?" He understands that whatever he was doing, now needs to be directed towards us or needs to originate from us and not from someone outside of us; like sitting in someone else's lap, or wanting to play with other random Dad's at parks.

Now, Tony has adjusted so well to life with us, but the changes that this baby will bring, I think, are making him question his place. We will continue to work. And it has inspired me to examine my heart. When do I not exhibit "family girl" behavior with the King of Kings? I can't say enough how much I have learned about God's love and His plan of redemption through Jesus by being both a foster and adoptive parent. Some things are just little personal treasures, and some things I feel I must share. We have all had different views in life and the view from Adoptive mother is one that I can share.

I really try not to be preachy, but several times I have had people say to me (well meaning) that if you don't bond with a child in the first year, you never will. Poppy-cock!! It is harder and you have to keep working and being a good listener to their little hearts (even after 3 years), but it works! And God is such a big God! He is the God of second chances. He is the Redeemer of time. He turns Beauty for Ashes. Can we only truly become His child if we are saved as children? Will we never truly be "bonded" to Him if it doesn't happen in the infancy of our lives here? I doubt that anyone would answer "no" to that. Adoption is a mirror to our adoption into the Kingdom. Our parenting should be a reflection of His. Our families a copy of the Kingdom. One song that I have been singing all week. I love this song, so will add it here. I am sure many of you know it, but if not, please listen to it.

"Child of God"
Father you're all I need, my soul's sufficiency......

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


One of the families from our adoption agency posted on her blog a few days ago about their experinces while at Hannah's Hope, Ethiopia.(Thanks Katie!) She was describing her arrival at the orphanage and being led into the office area. While waiting for the director of the orphanage to come in (and bear in mind she hasn't met her child, yet) she is glancing around and notices a shelf. On that shelf are folders with childrens names on them. All of the children in the orphanage that already have families chosen for them had a file with heir first name and their soon-to-be last name. She tells how that really moved her. And reading it, myself, I was moved. Knowing that we will be waiting another 2 plus months to meet my child and another month or two after that to bring her home is sure hard. But knowing that she has already been named "ours" is astonishing. In an orphanage on the other side of the world is a folder with our last name on it. That folder means that the little girl working hard to grow in the next room is ours forever, whether she realizes it or not. She has been "placed" in a family. That is exciting!

But, there are so many more children all over this world that don't have a folder with their new last name sitting on a shelf. They go to bed dreaming of having a family, a home, a mother and a father. I can't help but think of those without. Our daughter's destiny has been sealed. The King of Kings has "placed" her in a family. How many more can He do this for?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big brother blues!

Our little cowboy ponderin'
the arrival of his little sis".

Wonderin' when he will get
to show her "the ropes"...pardner!

1st trip Court Dates!

Underground church in Lalibela
Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Lalibela was intended to be a New Jerusalem in response to the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims, and many of its historic buildings take their name and layout from buildings in Jerusalem.

Emnat na Mihret
Amharic for “Faith and Mercy”

I thought it would be fun to post a few words/phrases in the language spoken in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, where Hannah's Hope Orphanage is. I chose "emnat na mihret" today because what could describe our needs and the needs of our daughter anymore than these two words. Faith and mercy for the journey still ahead of us all to become the family that God has ordained. Faith and mercy for all of the orphans still waiting for someone to claim them as their own. And it is by faith and with God's mercy that we have made it this far! All we have left are a few months and a few trips to the other side of the globe and back :) Emnat ne mihret, Father! Emnat na mihret!

We received our first trip court dates. As I posted earlier, we won't be traveling until after the courts re-open in October. But, we were so happy to get a call from Julie, our case worker, on Thursday. She said she was very surprised that they were already handing out dates for October. Our daughter's birth-mother has to appear in court first, on Oct. 6th. We then travel for our court appearance on Oct. 18th. If all goes well, the sometime shortly after that (a week?) she will be officially ours! We, of course, will already be back in Tennessee and waiting to hear about her US Embassy appointment. When we receive that then we will travel back to get her and bring her home, approximately 6-8 weeks after the first trip. Let's pray for 6 weeks, or what about 4-5 weeks? Since we're asking, let's think big!!

I am very relieved just to know WHEN we are going to meet her for the first time, to see her smile, to hold her, kiss on her and to snuggle with her. I pray that she has an easy time with all of the adjustments; spending time with us and then seeing us leave her for those weeks, before returning to bring her home. So, if you are praying, please pray that her birth-mother is able to make it to her appointment (sometimes they are not able) and that all of her paperwork is there. If one of those things doesn't happen, then we don't "pass" and they have to reschedule that part of the proceedings. It will not effect our first trip, however, we will still finish our portion of the proceedings and when everything is done, then the judge makes his ruling to declare her legally adopted. Then, pray for a quick embassy appointment, so that we can get back there as soon as possible to bring her home. We will be praying to bring her home the end of November, but possibly as late as mid-December.

Emnat na mihret to you all! Whateveryour journey is; enjoy just "doing it" with Jesus!