Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Special Package on its way to Ethiopia

One of the items that we prepared for our court date was an album and letter for John T's birth mother. We sent it to our agency in Portland on Saturday with the hopes that it would get sent to Ethiopia tomorrow and make it to our court date on the 5th (1 week from tomorrow!!!) As our son is from the southern part of Ethiopia, there is a good chance that we will not be able to meet his birth mother while we are there. This album and letter may be the only communication we have with John's birth mother.

We included pictures of our family, our home and all of the photo's we had received of John T.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A donation has been made in your name......

This past weekend our dear friends Jason and Alisa got married. On Friday, I was at the church helping decorate and Alisa insisted that I read the program. It was a six page program (the neatest program I have seen). I got to the 5th page and teared up. Here is what I found (If you click on it it should blow up so you can read):

Wow....we are so blessed to have such good friends. Thank you Jason and Alisa for allowing the Pell family to be part of your day and for including baby John in such an amazing way!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

When do we leave???

Unfortunately, getting assigned a court date does not mean jumping on a plane tomorrow. We are not present for the court date in Ethiopia so for now we wait (13 days and counting) to find out if John T is officially ours. Here is a run down on the rest of our process:

Passing Court: All of the paperwork that we had prepared last spring is sitting in Ethiopia awaiting our court date. On November 5th, a judge, a social worker, John T's birth mother, and a representative from our adoption agency will appear in court to make a decision on the adoption. In order to pass court, John T’s birth mother will have to make an 8 hour trip to Addis Ababa to be at court. If she is unable to be there or any of our paperwork is not in order, we will not pass court and will be assigned a new court date. We have been told that it is common to not pass court on the first attempt so to be prepared to have to await a second court date. We are of course praying that all will go well and we will pass court on the first attempt. Once we pass court John T. is legally ours!!

Embassy Date: Once we have passed court, we will be given our travel dates. We have been told that we will travel 4-6 weeks after passing court. The only required appointment we will have when in Ethiopia is an appointment at the US Embassy. After passing court, the agency is busy getting his birth certificate, passport, and some other required documents that need to be turned into the US Embassy 2 weeks prior to our appointment. Appointments to the US Embassy are given to our agency twice per month so our travel dates will be based on these appointments. We have been told that if we pass court on November 5th, we will probably travel mid December.

Travel: Once we get our travel dates we make our plane reservations and GO GET OUR BABY BOY! We will leave on a Saturday and arrive back in the states on a Friday. We stay at a hotel that is walking distance from the orphanage and will have John in our arms the first full day we are in country. We literally can not wait for this day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Court Date!

We have a court date set for November 5th!! So relieved to have a date to look forward to. We have been told that if we pass court on the 5th, we would probably travel mid December. We are praying that he will be home for Christmas!

We also want to say a public THANK YOU to Audrey and Brian ( for your support this last week. It was a difficult week of waiting for me. I was of course so happy to hear that other children were going home soon to their forever families but Audrey emailed me and insisted that she was not going to post her good news until we heard ours as they got their referral the same week as we did. Thank you Audrey for your support this week. The women I have "met" through this process on the AGCI listserve and through blogs have been an amazing support system. Thank you to all of you that have been praying and supporting us in the online world. We hope to meet many of you soon in Ethiopia!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surprise Shower

Last week Emma and I took a trip to Washington State to visit family and to meet my brand new niece, Hailey. My sister (picture below) after having had a baby only three week prior to our trip planned a baby shower for John T. How special is that? Over the past few years, my sister and I have become best friends and she has been such a strong supporter and encourager of our family during this adoption process. Thank you Heidi for throwing us this shower! It meant so much to me!!!

I had to also include a picture of my mom (center) as she co-hosted the shower with my sister. These are the girls in my family (from the left), Emma, me, YaYa, Hailey, Heidi and Hannah. John T. will be the first grandson on my side and has two boy cousins to keep him busy on John's side.

Good friends of ours from college drove from Bellingham and Auburn to visit while Emma and I were in Wenatchee. They were in on the surprise and did a great job of getting me out of the house and back without me having any idea that there was a shower being planned. I had no idea until I heard "SURPRISE" and saw the picture of our sweet boy sitting on the coffee table. Janet, second from right, is also adopting from Ethiopia so it was great to have her there to share her journey as well and to win the Ethiopia trivia game (did much better than me :)

I was able to catch up with old friends and both of baby John's grandmothers were there to celebrate him becoming part of our family (I didn't get a picture of Mimmaw but it was of course so special to have her there as well). Thank you again to Heidi and Mom and to everyone that attended. Can't wait to dress him in the cute outfits and cuddle with him with the soft blankets.......

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Got my shots today and John is scheduled for his on Friday. We ended up having our insurance changed on October 1st and all but the typhoid (which is in pill form) were covered in our co-pay. Yay!! This was great news as I know a lot of you out there posted that it cost you hundreds of dollars to get these shots. I only had to get two shots today (Hep A and tetanus) and will go back in a couple of weeks for Meningitis so that I don’t have too much in my system at once. We decided to not get the polio as our physician did not think we needed it for where we were going and what we were doing. I also got some helpful tips about traveling that I thought I would pass along:

Altitude sickness: He recommended taking the altitude sickness pills before leaving just in case. The only real cure is to go down in elevation once you are sick and he said they don’t have much of a side effect. I was told to start taking them two days before leaving and then three days after arriving. If they make me sick to my stomach during the first day that I take them, I will know to stop taking them before getting on the plane and will just hope that I am not susceptible to altitude sickness. If there are no side effects, why not take it to make sure our special week with our little boy is not ruined by being sick? He also said lots of water and no alcohol on the plane helps prevent altitude sickness.

Antibiotics: He gave us a prescription for antibiotics to use if we got a fever with any other symptoms of infection (stomach, bladder ect.). We are going to fill it and take it with us just in case.

Ayr Saline Gel: He recommended this for the plane. It is a gel that you put in your nostrils to prevent germs getting into your system during the flight. He said we could use it on our little man on the way home as well. Germs like the dry plane air and the more moisture in your nose, the less chance of catching something. Hmmmm, it seems safe so as long as it doesn’t feel like a constant runny nose we will try it!

Probiotic Align: This is for the stomach and is over the counter. He again recommended starting on this a couple of days before leaving so we are not hit with side effects on the plane. If no side effects, he recommended taking the entire trip and a couple of days after arriving home.

So the week before we leave we will be popping typhoid, altitude sickness, and Probiotic pills to help us during our week in Ethiopia. Hope we can remember all of that in the midst of our flurry to leave……..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Courts Open......phew....still waiting to hear for us

Good friends of our that are adopting through another agency (reputable US agency) got an email today confirming that the courts did in fact open yesterday! This is great news as it means cases should start moving and hopefully those that have court dates today and tomorrow will pass. It also means that we should be getting assigned a court date in the next couple of weeks. And so again, we wait for the phone to ring to let us know the date that Almaz, the orphanage director, and John T's birthmother will go to court to make the adoption official. We will keep you posted of any new news.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Courts to Open???

The courts were supposed to open sometime last week and were postponed due to training. Ahhhh!! Luckily I was in Washington meeting my 4 week old niece Hailey and visiting family and was highly distracted. I am distracted no more. Bring on the court dates. Everyone is hoping that the courts opened today to hear cases as last weeks cases were rescheduled to the end of October. Our hopes for an October court date are quickly fading. We are still trying to be optimistic for travel in November but it does not look too promising. Hope that I can post our date very soon!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Update on Baby John T.:

Our case worker called yesterday to let us know that she was sending pictures and answers to some questions that I had asked about our little man. We were on a walk so rushed home and hit refresh on the computer until the e-mail came in. She sent us 50 plus pictures of him!! Some older pictures and some newer ones. His hair has really grown in and he is looking more like a baby instead of an infant. She also let us know he was taken to the eye doctor to what they think is a clogged tear duct which is very common in infants. In fact, Emma had the same thing for about a month when she was a baby. We are of course worried that it could be something more but can’t really do anything else to find out until we bring him back to the states. Hopefully it will just clear up on its own and there will be no worries. The questions I asked about developmental milestones all came back positive. We are hoping that this update holds us over until we get a court date. The courts open next week but we were told to be prepared to wait a while to hear anything as they are really busy when they open back up.

Formula and Diaper Donations:

The donations of formula and diapers have started rolling in. Thank you so much for those of you that have already contributed. One idea I wanted to throw out there: I went to the woman Dr. today for my yearly checkup and just happened to ask if they gave away formula to expectant mothers and if so, if I could have some. I walked away with two cans of formula for free!! I know pediatricians often have this as well. If you are heading to the Dr. any time soon for yourself or your little one and you don’t mind asking, this would be a great (and cheap) way to get formula. If anyone is in Wenatchee and reads this and would like to contribute, Emma and I are going to be in town next week. Just give the donations to someone in my family and we can bring them back with us when we fly back home….

Financial Update:

We are so close!!! Only $900 to go and we will have the amount we need for our next and LAST set of fees. I don’t really have words to express how encouraging this is to us as we wait to know that so many of you are helping us bring our son home in such a real way. Please let me know via email if you will be sending something in so that I can let everyone know when we have reached our goal.