Free WiFi in the Denver airport = I can post just before we get on the plane!

We board in about 30 minutes. Robert has gone to get his last American Diet Coke (the flavor is a little off in Portugal and he says he's giving the drink up when we get there). The boys are looking out the window and charming the ladies sitting next to me by saying things like"bye bye Suburban" and "Biruk two, Biruk three in May."

We are all very excited to see all of our friends, who will be our family in Portugal, in less than 16 hours (not just our team, but our teacher Eunice, our church family at the Igreja de Cristo em Lisboa, and our friends the Gentrys whom we met this past summer!).

The ladies sitting next to me keep asking me questions about where we are going and what we will be doing when we get there. Now they now know that we are going to Lisbon for language school and then on to the mission field in Angola and they know that the boys came home just six months ago from Ethiopia. They are impressed by the boys language skills, and they tell me that the boys are beautiful. As I tell our story, I realize that our story is a little (ok, a lot) out of the ordinary but, more importantly, we are blessed.

We are blessed to have traveled so much in the last eight months, we are blessed to have these beautiful, flexible boys, we are blessed to have so many dear friends waiting for us in Portugal, we are blessed to have support from the states (our friends and family support us and we have the financial support we need), and so much more! We're boarding!!

You'll be hearing from me again in PORTUGAL!


6 Months Home!

Yesterday, April 30, 2010, marked six months from the day that we landed as a family of four in the Little Rock Airport.

Our boys have gone from this (over 10 months ago, when we received our referral):

To this (over 8 months ago, when we received our social report):

To this (over six months ago, the week we met them):

To this (at our recent Ruple Photography photo shoot):

The transition has been easier than we ever expected! We have truly been blessed by God. I wrote the following in our adoption testimony to Shaohanah's Hope, an organization who generously gave us a grant for the adoption of Efesson and Biruk, "...looking back on the process and the wait, we can see how God has been at work. We have two boys who seem to have been created to be missionary kids -- they are outgoing, they love meeting new people, they are flexible and they love going places with us..."

We began the past six months cautiously, ensuring that the boys would someday attach to us and learn to trust us fully.

After our first trip away from home (to Castle Rock, Colorado for Thanksgiving and then to Austin, Texas for a team meeting) the boys were confident that our small house in our hood in North Little Rock was home and they celebrated each time we pulled into the driveway, returning home.

We have made many many other trips since then and out boys have slept in over 14 different beds in the last six months! This is not usually recommended for newly adopted children, but the boys have shown us so many healthy signs during out travels, that we continue to take them everywhere with us! The boys talk about the friends and family that they have met all the time! People like Grandpa Martin, baby Lincoln, Uncle Josh, Aidan, Kyleen (and her dog!), Dixie Dog, Uncle Steve, they talk about the entire Angola team (they can hardly name one without naming everybody else - including future member, baby Sophia), Grandma, Grandpa, Baby Luke, Tony Ton, Grandmomma, Granddad, Uncle Clay, Uncle Greg (which could mean my Uncle Greg or Mr. Greg from Silver City), Molly, Mr. JB, Ms. Amber, baby Penny, Canaan, Josiah (Biruk calls every blond toddler Josiah), they even talk about Eunice, our Portuguese teacher (who Efesson calls "Annie" because the name Eunice is not quite stuck in his head. If you describe an time where we met someone and the people whom we met, Efesson will usually remember.

The boys are so flexible about going places and doing things with us! They love to know what we are doing next. Efesson wakes up nearly every morning asking us what we are going to do that day. He can even keep track of what we are going to be doing for a whole week! For example, he is really looking forward to Monday when we board an airplane headed for Portugal!

It is amazing how comfortable the boys are. We have recently begun to talk more and more about their home in Ethiopia. These conversations have been very positive and they have made Robert and me very excited for the day when Efesson has enough of the English language to talk about Ethiopia in more detail.

How have Robert and I been doing over these past six months? We are learning a lot about how to potty train, how to get a child to eat their food (or simply try a bite of food), how to keep your kid in bed during nap time, how to get your child to behave in church, which form of discipline to use with each particular event, and when to hand the task over to the other parent because you are about to go crazy. More importantly we've learned the best spots to tickle, that we need to start training Efesson to be an Olympic runner, that Biruk benefits from a good pep talk here and there (in order to ride on the marry-go-round, pet a dog, take a bath, etc...),
that Efesson can make some pretty incredible noises, that Biruk sometimes needs a little time in Mommy or Daddy's arms after a nap, that these boys love every form of transportation known to man, and that they are up for just about anything, especially if you tell them about it ahead of time!

We know that things may not always be this easy, that issues may arise over time, and that we have many difficult conversations ahead of us. In this season of our lives together, we are thankful to God for giving us these little guys who fit our family's lifestyle so well.