Our Journey to Ethiopia

Documenting our Journey to Ethiopia and Adoption

Six Months Home! November 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 7:17 pm

Wow, six months. SIX MONTHS! How has it been six months since we brought this bundle of energy home? I can’t even believe it! He has brought us so much joy I can’t even imagine life without him. He has grown and changed so much it is crazy.

We are well on our way to having 8 teeth. Sam is constantly furniture surfing and starting to stand without holding onto anything. He Jabbers all the time! Dadda is still his favorite word but momma is catching up! He is so curious about everything and loves music and his books. He really loves the cat but the cat is still deciding on how he feels about him.

The Lord has blessed us with this little munchkin in more ways than we can even imagine. He makes me laugh, he makes me cry and sometimes even makes me crazy. He loves all different types of food and is a great sleeper. This mommy and daddy couldn’t ask for more! We have enjoyed watching him learn and try new things and watching his little mind put things together.

Blessed is all I can say. He was soooo worth the wait.

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Home 3 Months August 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 8:34 pm

We have been home just over three months so we have lots of updating to do! Sam is growing like a weed. He has learned so much in the short time we have been home. He is eating baby food, army crawling and starting to try to pull himself up on things. He is learning to use his voice..which usually comes in the form of screeching…He is saying dada. We are working on mama. He is a great sleeper at night and doing better on his naps. He loves to go for walks in his stroller. We even ventured out for a camping trip! I mean real camping in a tent🙂 He loved it! He loves his cousins and they love him. The Lord has really blessed us with a very healthy, happy little boy. Not a moment goes by that we aren’t so thankful for him. He makes us laugh all the time. So, here are some pictures from the last few months.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 7:55 pm

So sorry we have not posted sooner! We have been settling into life with a little one! We left for our second trip on May 4th, 2012 and our first stop was Washington DC. We had to spend the night in DC and got to stay in this lovely hotel. We didn’t land until close to midnight and I’m sure we looked like we had been run over by a large truck, so the lovely lady gave us a room upgrade.🙂 That was a nice treat! We then got up bright and early and headed to the airport to meet up with our friends that we have been so blessed to walk this journey with.

We were fortunate enough to not be on a full flight on our way to Ethiopia so we had an extra seat..which on a 12 plus hour flight is soooo nice! We landed in Ethiopia Sunday morning and headed to the beautiful Hotel Riviera. We had been told that we would pick up Sam Monday morning, so we felt good that we would have Sunday to relax and maybe get a little sleep before bringing an infant back to the hotel with us. Well, we thought wrong! When we got our schedule at the hotel it said that we would be leaving in the afternoon to get our kiddos! We all just kind of looked at each other and tried to let it soak in.

So, we went up to the room for a quick unpack and a little nap and we were off! It was kind of surreal taking that drive again and realizing it was the last time we would take it, that this was it! We were going to be getting our son! When we got to HH the boys (our friends also got a little boy) were asleep. So we spent a little time playing with the older kids which was so fun and nice to see some of them again! When the boys woke up the special mother’s brought them to us and we spent a little time reconnecting with them. Then we were off. Let me just say there is nothing like being handed a baby that is 5 months old and doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall and you are then set free in a foreign country to take care of them!  Keep in mind, we are now hoping we have packed enough formula, clothing, diapers, and all other things a baby needs. There isn’t a Walmart or Target around the corner!🙂

Considering all things, Samuel did great! The Lord really blessed us that week. He slept most of the night (although he was a bed hog) and over all we had good days.

We had our Embassy appointment on Tuesday. That was a neat experience. Wass picked us up and we drove across Addis to the US Embassy. We waited outside with other families that were adopting and then we were taken in through a security building and then into the actual Embassy. We didn’t have to wait too long! We went up to this little window and were asked a few questions and then given some paperwork. They would send over the info over to HH and we would pick it up on Thursday. Simple as that. Simpler than going to the DMV…

On Wednesday the guys decided to go do a little shopping while the girls stayed with the kiddos at the hotel. I think it was good for them to get out and about a little. They used the same cab driver we did on the first trip. His name is Sisay and he is awesome! The boys had a great trip! They had their own personal security guard to shop with (no joke, they had one of the nice postal guards to keep an eye on them) and brought back some fantastic Mother’s Day gifts!

On Thursday we headed back to HH to get our paperwork for citizenship. Almaz came in and went over all of our paperwork that we needed to bring Sam into the country… do not lose, open, rip etc. package…the one that you check and double check all week that you have it and it is in a safe place🙂 We were then able to take some time for the special mother’s to say goodbye to the boys. That was so much harder then we thought it would be. These woman love these kiddos so much and the smiles that they got were so big! How do you say thank you to the woman that have loved, cared for and snuggled your son for all those months that you couldn’t? After that emotional time we headed back to the hotel to get ready to fly out that evening.


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Bonding and Attachment May 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 7:08 am

This is such a hard and sometimes touchy subject. Please read the letter below that will outline the plan that Steve and I have laid out for life when we first get home.


Dear Family & Friends,


After over two years of waiting, our precious Samuel is finally home! We know that

each of you receiving this letter has, in some way, supported, loved and prayed

for us. Because we know your care for Samuel and our family, we want to share with

you some information that we hope will best equip everyone around him to assist

us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation – emotionally, physically

and spiritually.


In many ways, Samuel will be like the children who entered our family through

birth; we will parent like other Christian families as we bring all of them up

in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But there will be a few, initial

differences. For years now, we have researched bonding and attachment in

children, especially those coming home through adoption from an institutional

orphanage setting.


We are confident of this: God’s design is PERFECT! His plan for parents and

children is a beautiful and meaningful picture of His love for us. Attachment

between a parent and child occurs over time when a baby has a physical or

emotional need and communicates that need. The primary caretaker (usually mommy)

meets the need and soothes the child. This repeats between a parent and child

over and over to create trust within the child for that parent; the baby is

hungry, cries in distress, mom nurses & calms the baby – which teaches him that

this person is safe and can be trusted. By God’s very design, an emotional

foundation is laid in the tiniest of babies, which will affect their learning,

conscience, growth and future relationships. The security provided by parents

will, ultimately, give children a trust for and empathy towards others.


Children who come home through adoption have experienced interruptions in this

typical attachment process. The loss of a biological mother at an early age can

be a major trauma on their little hearts. The good news is that we can now, as

Samuel’s parents and forever family, rebuild attachment and help him heal from

these emotional wounds. When Samuel comes home, he will be overwhelmed. Everything

around him will be new and he will need to learn not just about his new

environment, but also about love and family. He has not experienced God’s design

for a family in an orphanage setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child

bond is to be the ones to hold, snuggle, instruct, soothe and feed him. As this

repeats between us, he will be able to learn that parents are safe to trust and

to love deeply. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection.

Once Samuel starts to establish this important bond, he will then be able to branch

out to other, healthy relationships.


Samuel  will have, what may seem like, a lot of structure, boundaries and close

proximity to us. Please know that these decisions are prayerfully and

thoughtfully made choices based on immense amounts of research and instruction

from trusted adoption mentors. We will be doing what we believe is best to help

him heal from those interruptions in attachment as effectively as possible. Why

are we telling you all of this? Because you will actually play an awesome and

vital role in helping our Samuel settle in, heal, and lay a foundation for the

future. There are a few areas in which you can help us:


The first is to set physical boundaries. It will help us immensely if adults

limit what is typically considered normal, physical contact with Samuel. This will

(for a while) include things like holding, excessive hugging and kissing.

Children from orphanage settings are prone to attach too easily to anyone and

everyone – which hinders the important, primary relationship with parents.

Waving, blowing kisses or high fives are perfectly appropriate and welcomed! Samuel

should know that the people with whom he interacts are our trusted friends.


Another area is redirecting Samuel’s desire to have his physical and emotional needs

met by anyone (including strangers) to having us meet them. Orphans often have

so many caretakers that they, as a survival mechanism, become overly charming

toward all adults. A child struggling to learn to attach may exhibit

indiscriminate affection with people outside of their family unit. It may appear

harmless and as if they are “very friendly” but this is actually quite dangerous

for the child. To share this is difficult for us because we have snuggled, cared

for, fed and loved so many of your children. Please understand that we want

nothing more than to have Samuel hugged, cuddled and cherished by ALL of you (he’s

totally irresistible and huggable). But until he has a firm understanding of

family and primary attachments, we would be so grateful if you direct him to us

if you see that he is seeking out food, affection or comfort.


We are incredibly blessed to have so many loved ones around us. We couldn’t ask

for a better extended family & circle of friends for our precious Samuel. Thank you

so much for your love and support over the past two years. If you have any

questions please feel free to ask at any time!


Here are also a few blog posts from a friend that you might find informative.




We Passed Embassy April 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 7:42 pm

We got an email this morning that we passed Embassy! So now the mad dash to get ready for the trip! Wow…packing for a baby…this should be fun🙂 Thank you all so much for your prayers, support and love during this process. It hasn’t gone unnoticed we feel so uplifted by all of you. This journey is really just starting. We will post more when we know more. Oh, and next week we can post some pictures of the most adorable baby on the planet!


Jessica & Steven


Our Trip To See Our Little Man! April 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 6:28 pm

Well, I have really dropped the blogging ball! We have been home a week from our first trip to see our son. He is of course perfect🙂 We were so blessed to spend the week loving on him and the other beautiful children at Hannah’s Hope. The staff is amazing and love our children so much..this is such a blessing to a mommas heart. Leaving him on that Friday was one of the hardest things I or we have ever had to do but knowing he is getting such amazing care and love made it just a little bit easier. Here are a few pictures of our trip. We still can’t show his face but enjoy seeing his fabulous hair🙂 Hoping to hear from the Embassy very soon so we can get him home!!

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We Have a Court Date!!! March 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbloods @ 7:20 am

Where to start. Monday was my birthday…wasn’t the easiest day for me. Actually, I think by the end of it I was quite grumpy. My wonderful husband was so sweet he took me to dinner and then I was pretty much ready for bed…getting old you know. I had told “T” at our agency that all I wanted was a court date for my birthday. She sent a sweet email back saying she really wished she could do that for me but totally out of her control. Well, let me tell you when my phone at work rang on Wednesday and it was “T” all I could think was our little guy is sick again…but, boy was I mistaken. “T” asked me how I would like a belated birthday gift to which I replied if it is a trip to Africa count me in!!! She said yes!!! We are going to see our little boy!!!! Best gift ever!!! We have got our tickets on hold and the suitcases are out🙂 This mom is ready to go!!!! Now if I can just get over the sticker shock of tickets🙂 Please be praying for our little guys birth mother as she has court in a week or so that she will be at peace with her decision and that she will be able to make it to court as well as it could include quite a bit of travel for her. Thank you all for your support and prayers we feel very blessed to be so loved and that our little guy is going to be as well.