Friday, April 27, 2012

Something to Contemplate

We had one more little victory this week...our regional MOWA letter was obtained!  Yea!!  It was the most amazing little miracle: I posted on Facebook asking for all our friends to pray for this regional letter for all four families who were missing it on Saturday and Sunday last weekend.  We had a huge response of people who were praying, and Tuesday, we ALL FOUR received our letters!

The letters are currently on the federal MOWA desk, so we are praying for them to quickly write our approval so the paperwork can begin for submission to Embassy.'s just such a long process {I say as if you haven't been following our journey for close to two years now!}.

Last weekend, I had a great time at home getting things ready for when Bek gets to come home!  I organized the boys' closet, pulling out all Camden's old 18 month clothes for Bek.  It was so fun to hold all those things and remember Mr. Personality being so teeny and then to envision all the fun things we will do in the future when they are worn by Little Man. 

I also put together his little toddler bed {thank you, MJ, for letting us borrow it!}, which works perfect for the soccer quilt I made him.  Love it!

I pulled out some things to pack for him, too, but there is NO WAY I'm posting a picture of that mess!  We have this little corner of our room that has our suitcases and a pile of things as I remember that we will need to take them with us.  It is perpetually growing and is a disaster that I'm choosing to ignore! ;)

In the meantime, while we are waiting, we are reading more and contemplating how to best transition Bek into our home.  We want him to have the very best start at life in our crazy family and are trying to figure out how to best do this.  This transition will look VERY different from bringing Camden and Melia home from the hospital.  Please watch for more information on what this will look like and the support we will need from our friends and family. 

In the meantime, I would like to introduce you to our friend, Amber Harder's blog.  We met Amber and her husband in Ethiopia on our first/their second trip.  Their daughter was one of Bek's crib buddies at the House of Hope.  Amber wrote a very good, concise blog post that sums up how they are transitioning their sweet baby girl into their home.  It is likely that we will use some of these concepts for our transition process.  However, due to his age and the make-up of our family, some of it will look different for us.  Reading this will give you a good idea of some of the things that we are currently considering.  To read, click here:

Thank you for continuing to pray for our adoption.  This part is hard, SO hard.  Waiting day after day with the hope that our paperwork will be in place "tomorrow" is daunting.  Your prayers in petition of God's grace are providing us with our daily sustenance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Teeny Tiny Baby Step

As you know if you read my previous post, the Ethiopian judge declared Bek our son last Thursday.  However, we have been cautioned against posting pictures or distinguishing information until the letter is obtained from the regional MOWA, which will allow the federal MOWA to write our approval, which will allow our Power of Attorney to take the approval to the court, which will allow our file to be complete.  This will {finally} conclude the court portion of the process.  I would never have guessed this part would still be dragging on. 

Today, we received news that our regional letter is written and should be obtained tomorrow {please, please pray that our POA is there at the exact time that the office can see's a strange balancing act!}, which would allow the rest to begin.  We are cautiously optimistic that this really will happen. 

But, the really great answer to prayer is that our adoption decree is currently being translated *praise Jesus* and should be done later this week!  Aside from having a complete file, this is exactly what we hoped to hear today!  This means that not having this paperwork has not completely stalled the process.  We still need that paperwork so that the steps toward Embassy submission can begin, but this is good, good news. 

Specific prayer requests for the remainder of the process include the following:
  1. That our paperwork will be obtained tomorrow.
  2. That at the conclusion of this week, we will have our translated adoption decree and both letters will be in our file, completing the court portion of the process.
  3. That Bek's passport, birth certificate, and visa medical examination will be obtained quickly and that we will be submitted to Embassy in early May.
  4. For all our documents to be complete and translated correctly so that the US Embassy is 100% sure that Bek meets the status of an orphan by US standards.
  5. For our peace and patience...that we will be open to what Christ has to teach us through this period of waiting.
  6. For Bek...his health and safety as well as his little spirit. He has already experienced so much loss in his little life and I imagine it must be so confusing when his little roommates leave to go home to their forever families.  Please specifically pray that he remembers us and that God will somehow comfort him with the knowledge that we are his family and that we will be back as soon as we can. 
And, because I can't post any pictures of his sweet little face, how about a tiny glimpse of him with his buddy Taye, waiting and watching for their mommies and daddies to come back and get them?!

Soon, baby, very soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On Being Home

We have officially been home for a full week.  I wish I could say it's been easy, that we slid right back into our normal schedule, roles, and responsibilities unscathed by what we experienced in Africa.  But, friends, that would be a lie.  This week has been HARD.  Like, really stinkin' hard.  I thought about posting all week, but, I really wasn't sure what to say.  It has been good to sit back and gain some perspective before posting, to really think about what I want you to know.  And here it is:

 What I've Experienced Since Being Home from Africa

  • Grief-All parents know that leaving a child for any period of time is rough.  Especially the first time.  Now, envision that you have met your sweet, precious baby for the first time.  You've spent the first five days learning about and getting acquainted to him; his smells, his preferences, his personality, what kind of an eater he is, what makes him laugh, etc.  And then, you hop on a plane and leave him.  For the first time.  On the opposite side of the planet.  For an indefinite period of time.  It really just stinks.  This is why I haven't been able to speak all week without a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. 
  • Family-Since we came home on Easter, we were quickly surrounded by Easter festivities and our amazing families.  It was so refreshing to be with those who love us so much and who were as eager to hear our stories of little Bek as we were to tell them.  Throughout the week, they have kept us close to ensure that we were doing alright and to see if there was any news regarding our paperwork.
  • Friendship-God has placed some amazing people in our lives that we get to call friends.  We are blessed to have these people who are doing life with us that we can share our hopes and our struggles with.  Our friends have helped to hold us up as an extension of our family and between the two groups, we have survived this excruciating week.
  • Anxiety-Since we did not pass court, we were in constant communication with our agency and with the family who was in Ethiopia meeting their son this week.  Each day brought a new level of anxiety as more and more was revealed regarding the missing paperwork in our case.  On Thursday, we were told that we received our paperwork, but upon further conversation between our agency and the staff in Ethiopia, it was discovered that the judge did, indeed, issue our decree, but she did it without the regional letter or the federal MOWA approval.  We are still waiting on those two pieces of paper, and, since our consultant told us that we are the first family that this has ever happened to, we are anxious to find out what this means for our case {and not the giddy, excited kind of anxious, more like the ugly, red-faced, hyperventilating into a paper bag-type}.  Entering into a new week, we are still feeling this anxiety.
  • Excitement-It was such an exciting thing to get to share with our friends and family and co-workers and, well, anyone who would listen about meeting our sweet boy.  My stomach still does excited flips thinking about telling someone new about him and showing off his pictures and talking about the amazing time of bonding that took place.  I'm also excited when I think about getting to share pictures and video of him with all my blog readers :)...hopefully the paperwork will fall into place this week, Bek will be declared our boy officially, and I can post pictures of our son!
  • Homesickness-This one is strange.  I'm not really sure that homesickness is the right word.  Maybe it's like going to church camp as a teenager.  You get this amazing high from just being there and experiencing the "mountaintop" experience and then you come home.  It's not that home is a bad place and, in fact, home is an amazing place with amazing family and friends that you love and cherish.  It's just that, in fact, you LOVED church camp and you miss it.  It's that feeling...I miss Africa.  I miss the people, the smells, the overcrowdedness, the crazy traffic, our new friends, Hermella, the transition house, the laid-back pace...I could go on and on.  But, you get it, right?  I miss Ethiopia.
  • Grace-If ever I have needed an extra dose of God's grace, it is right now.  And, He has been so so faithful to come beside me and allow me to "approach the throne of grace with confidence" {Hebrews 4:16} in this time where I need Him so much.  I have cried out to him so many times this week and I know many are crying out to Him on our behalf; He has been near.  I know this will continue to be the case through our struggles as we try so hard to wait patiently for His perfect timing.  We are clinging to his truth:
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Thank you, dear friends, for reading my ramblings, for loving us well, for praying for us, and for caring.  It means the world to me.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ethiopia {day 5}

Ethiopia {day 5}

I'm in a fragile place tonight as we fly away from a country that we have quickly learned to love and a boy that we love even more.

It's been another great day and one that was obviously orchestrated and ordained by God.   We started the day by meeting another adoptive couple, Zac and Amber Harder, at breakfast.  The Harders were here for their second trip in the process, the one that we will now long for until it comes to fruition.  They were an absolute answer to prayer for us, as their case is very similar to ours, even down to not having their MOWA letter at court, and yet, they only had 8 weeks between their two trips.  I'm trying not to be too set on a time frame, as that is what typically sends me over the edge, but, they were so encouraging to us nonetheless!  Speaking of the MOWA letter, they were unable to get it again today.  We were sad, but not completely surprised.  We are cautiously optimistic that they will be able to get it next week.

Bek had another amazing day!  He was crying again in his room when we got there and when we got him from his room, he stopped immediately.  He was quiet for a bit and acted a little tired, but still wanted down to steal the toys from the other babies and play "escape" {a game where he crawls around all the obstacles to try to escape the rainbow room}.  After we'd been there about an hour and a half, we fed him his cereal and then played some more until he got a little fussy and I bounced him to sleep.  I then took him to his room to finish his nap so that we could go eat lunch.  

We had lunch with Kristine and the Harders at the Downtown Cafe where we shared pizza and conversation.  I know I've said it before, but it is worth mentioning again that we have been so blessed with the friendships we have made and cultivated here in Addis.  These are friends that we will always share this connection with who have the same passion as we do for orphans.  Just another added bonus in this amazing journey.

We returned from lunch to bottle time.  Bek was in his crib laying on his side with droopy, sleepy eyes, a bottle propped up on his blanket so that it would stay in his mouth.  I walked into his nursery and held his hand while he drank. It was an amazing, tender moment between mommy and son.

When he was done, I picked him up and took him to the rainbow room, where we had the best afternoon.  He was happy and cuddly and rambunctious and sweet and ornery all rolled up into this perfect little boy that God has chosen for our family.  

Although tonight as we fly 36000 feet above Africa my heart is breaking and I am longing to hold my sweet boy, I know that this is just a moment in time. We have been chosen for a difficult process that will help to complete our family and bring glory to God.  We are so thankful for our Savior, for when we are weak, He is strong.  And soon, our sweet boy will be with our family forever.

Ethiopia {day 4, part 2}

Ethiopia {day 4, part 2}

Happy birthday, sweet baby Bek!  We had hoped to get to have our adoption day and your birthday be the same, but it seems like God would rather you have two separate days to party!!

So, after our disappointing news that we had not passed court, we were pretty downtrodden as we headed to the House of Hope to visit our boy.  We made a stop at a kitchen "store" and to get some unroasted coffee beans, but we were still upset and stayed in the van with Leslie and Kristine.  While we waited, the cutest little boy (maybe about 8 years old) came up to the van, flashed us a big smile, and stuck his hand in the van.  Leslie handed him two suckers and you would have thought he'd won the lottery!  He took off cheering, only to return a few minutes later.  Leslie just gave him the whole bag of dum-dums then and he whooped and ran home.  When we left, we drove by his family where he was waving so big, his little sister beside him with a sucker in her mouth, and his mother weeping behind them.  We decided maybe he would sell them to help with the bills.  It is a whole different world here.

After the stop, we were finally on our way to see the birthday boy.  When we got there, his nanny was feeding him cereal, and he looked at us and stared while we smiled and waved.  We went into the room (that our group has dubbed the "rainbow room") and then I went down to get pictures of the toddler boys. At that point, Hermella told me that Bek was done eating and I could go get him.  I could hear him crying from downstairs (yep, I already recognize his cry!), so I raced up the stairs and got him from his room, and (can you believe it?) he stopped crying!  This was the beginning of what was a VERY good day with our boy!  We believe Bek could tell we'd had a hard morning and that we needed to have a great day with him.

We changed him into his birthday outfit that we brought for him and he totally came out of his shell!  Throughout the course of the 5 hours we were at the HOH, we watched our boy reach for both of us multiple times, get down to crawl, smile, smile, smile, laugh, babble, say "mama", "dada", and "nana", cruise along the chair, and walk with us holding both hands and then one hand!  I am still in awe about the amazing day God gave us with our little boy.

In addition, we had some birthday festivities including a coffee ceremony, popcorn, the Happy Birthday song from all the new parents, three of the nannies, and Hermella, and zebra cakes for the adults.  It was really just the most special birthday! When our five hours were over, we brought Bek back to his room and said our goodbyes.  Today was by far the most difficult goodbye, though I think tomorrow will take over that dposition.  Two of the families left today, which means they said goodbye until embassy, anywhere from 2 to 4 months.  It was difficult to see their pain as they said good-bye to their babies, and I was reminded that we will be feeling the same heartache tomorrow.

I am so thankful for this process and for the beautiful boy that it is bringing into our family.  Although it is extremely difficult, it has changed me.  I'm NOT strong enough for all this hurt and heartache.  I CANNOT do it on my own.  I am so thankful for my savior that picks me up, dusts me off, and carries me through when I can't do it on my own.

Ethiopia {day 4, part 1}

Ethiopia {day 4}

This morning we woke up with nervous anticipation.  Having been told that the judge didn't have our MOWA letter really put a damper on the day, but we knew it was a possibility that our letter could have arrived within the previous 24 hours.  In addition, Muslim prayer and chanting over an insanely loud speaker had kept both of us awake the majority of the night.  Our dinner from last night gave both of us a healthy dose of heartburn and me a bit of an upset stomach.  Needless to say, we had a rough start. We ate breakfast and waited, and waited, and waited to be picked up for court.  Traffic was crazy today, so that made our driver quite late picking us all up for court.

Once we got there, the guards in the front of the building checked our bags and patted us down and then we walked into this very narrow building where Hermella led us up several flights of stairs (4 maybe?) into the "court room", which was a room about 10 by 15 feet.  We all 7 sat down in the room with Hermella, the judge, and two other women (employed by the court, but I have no idea who they were).  One of the unknown women took our passports to the judge and we got started.   The judge asked which family was there for each child, we raised our hand when it was our child's name, and then she asked if we had other children, how old, if they knew about the adoption and if they were ok with it.  She then asked us all yes or no questions collectively...things like "did you educate yourself about international adoption?" and "is this the child that was referred to you?". All were yes or no questions that we, of course, all answered yes to.   Then, the judge said the name of the first two families, the Dorrs and the Turners, and declaired their babies were theirs.  She then looked at our paperwork, said something about how our file was incomplete and that there was no proof from the region that he was adoptable and that we should not even be there.  Ugh!  She then went on to declare Kristine Shrauger's daughter hers.

We were reeling.  Tears started to fall and I had no control over them.  We knew that the MOWA letter might not be there, but to say that we were missing something from the region?  It was just so frustrating and confusing.  The best way sweet Hermella could explain it was that the MOWA had received our regional letter, but that they had not gone through our file to write us the letter of endorsement.  She was also confused about the judge saying we shouldn't be there because the judge is the one who gave us our court date.

Have I mentioned at any point in the last couple of years how frustrating this process is?!

So, now we wait {again}...

Ethiopia {day 2}

Ethiopia {day 2}

We're in for the night and it's been a good, full day!  We started the morning at breakfast, meeting the fourth family in our little entourage. With our backpacks and cameras and white skin, there is no mistaking the fact that we are tourists!  We sat and visited after breakfast, waiting until about 10:30 for our driver to come pick us up.  There are other people staying here aside from us four families and we had the opportunity to meet several of them this morning: a couple waiting on a marriage license so that they can get married (he's from the states, she's from here), a couple from Denmark here adopting their first child, and an intriguing British "bloke" who is working on a project with the hospital to expand their facial reconstruction facility.

Once the driver arrived, we loaded up the van and headed to see our babies.  The couple that arrived this morning met their 8 month old twins for the first time.  They were so sweet with such a mild, content disposition.  Bek was crying when they brought him to us, but, unlike yesterday, we were able to easily calm him.  He was pretty content this morning.  We gave him his "who loves baby?" book and he took a long time staring at the pictures in the book, pointing to each one.  He didn't let go of it for the whole visit.  We got to feed him lunch again.  He ate super fast without crying or spitting it (another improvement) and then we just cuddled and talked to him.  He did seem to be feeling better, but was pretty serious all morning.

We left for lunch and ate at the Downtown Cafe and Restaurant, Hermella's favorite.  We all got pizza and it was pretty good.   We only took an hour away from our kids to do this and then our driver was back and we sped back to the HOH.

Bek was more fussy the second visit.  He felt hot and I wondered if his fever was back.  He whimpered more and chewed on his finger and on a toy that he borrowed from one of the other babies.  {note to adoptive parents: bring several toys on the first trip!}. He was ok by about 30 minutes in, so I left him with Trevor and went to take pictures and video of some of the other babies {paying it forward for all the times we have received pictures of our little man from other families}.  This was a super fun experience!  I got good pictures and a little video of each of the five babies.  Those nannies sure do love the babies and they made each baby smile for the camera.  So sweet!  I then went downstairs to spend time with and take pictures and video of the two toddlers whose mamas have become my friends and adoptive support through this process.  This was a super special time for me as I got to love on the boys and let them know that their parents were coming for them soon.  They were both so full of personality and really just the best of buddies.

Once I was done with pictures, I went back into the room to hold my sweet baby again.  He was so hot, so I took off his shirt since he also had a onesie on and we sat in front of the fan on the floor.  He sat on my lap and then pulled to standing, holding onto me for support.  This was the first initiative he has taken in regards to doing something by himself, so we were thrilled.  He also smiled more while we were hanging out on the floor, which warmed this mama's heart.   Our time was up, so we took him back to the playroom and headed out for the day.

Tonight, our little team of four adoptive families went to eat at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, complete with Ethiopian dance.  The food was yummy {though I prefer Blue Nile in KC}, and the dance was, well, traditional and interesting.  It was a good experience for sure. Tomorrow, we will visit Bek for a while and then go shopping.  I'm super excited to be able to get him (and Camden and Melia) some traditional Ethiopian things for him to have for years to come!:)

Ethiopia {day 3}

Ethiopia {day 3}

We are heading to bed tonight at the conclusion of our third day here in Ethiopia with a bit of frustration.  We will attend court in less than 12 hours and we were told today that we are the only family in our travel group that does not have our letter from the federal ministry of women, youth, and children's affairs {MOWYCA}.   This is the letter that shows that our dossier has been reviewed and that we are approved to adopt in Ethiopia.  If this letter is not at court, we will have done our part and will have to wait until the letter is written to be considered his parents.  I am thankful for the heads up, thankful for the prayers of our friends and family through our request on Facebook, and thankful for the prayer circle comprised of our new friends here in Ethiopia on our behalf.  We are very blessed even in our frustrations.  

We visited Bek today for a couple of hours.  He was still uneasy, but is getting more used to us.  We found a good tickle spot and used it to get several smiles today.  Though he still obviously prefers his nannies and friends, he is warming up to us and I don't think he was as scared today.  He ate all his cereal at lunch time today, but was fussier about it than yesterday.  Once he was done with his lunch, Trevor scooped him up and he fell asleep quickly in his daddy's arms.  I am a little emotional today anticipating leaving him in just two days.  It does not feel like we've had long enough with him, yet I miss my kids at home terribly.  I'm ready to be home, but long so badly for us to all be together as a complete family.  Soon.

One thing we got to do today was bring all the donations that we brought to the House of Hope {thank you so much to those of you who donated!!}.  Between the four families, we had six crib mobiles which we put together and placed on cribs before getting the babies this morning.  We also had cocoa butter, lotion, about a bazillion pairs of socks, and tons of wipes along with some toys we brought for the older kids.  I also got to take my friend, Emily's little guy his presents from his parents.  He loved the presents, but his favorite, by far, was the book she made for him with their pictures in it.  He pointed and said "Mommy!" and "Daddy!" as if he knew them.  It was so incredibly precious!

We left for lunch at about 2:00 and our in-country contact, Hermella, joined us for lunch and shopping.  We ate at a yummy restaurant called Island Breeze and then went shopping at the post office area.  We bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the guest house.  Once we got back, we walked to the hotel to check for wifi {which was non-existent again} and then came back for a while before going out to dinner.  We ate at a place called MKs, where we had burgers and crepes {really taking in the Ethiopian culture;) }.  It was pretty good, though it feels like we eat too much around here!  Food prices are amazing a nice restaurant, we pay about what we'd pay for one of us to eat in the US. 

Ethiopia is such an interesting country.  In some ways what we've experienced in Addis Ababa reminds me of Chinatown in NYC, particularly the shopping experience.  However, it is a huge city!  It's pretty dusty and dirty {it has rained here so it's been muddy in some places}, but they have great pride.  The people here are so friendly and make us feel so welcome, even though we are obviously tourists.  There are some things that have struck us as funny...the rationed toilet paper and expected tipping for everything, the food (bobo sandwich), the bargaining while shopping, the donkeys, oxen, and goats along the road; and some things that have struck us as sad...the beggars and general poverty peppered in amongst large, beautiful buildings.  We gleaned a lot of information about our son's birth country from Hermella today at lunch.  It was such a pleasure to be able to spend some time with someone who has worked so hard on our behalf and who loves our children day to day. I also have to say that we are so blessed with our travel group.  We have had a blast with Leslie and Ryan, Julie and Jay, and Kristine.  It is obvious that God orchestrated our group to be together for this portion of the journey and we are so thankful for our new friends!

Ethiopia {day 1}

Ethiopia {day 1}

It's 4:30 on Tuesday morning here and Trevor and I are wide awake.  We tried to shift our bodies to Ethiopian time, but after only sleeping 40 minutes in a  24 hour period including a 13 hour plane ride, two trips to the HOH to meet and spend time with Bek, checking into our guest house, and a meal at the restaurant, we were spent!  We went to bed last night at 5:30 and were sound asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow!  In a cruel trick, we woke up at 10:30 p.m. and thought that it was 5:30 a.m.  Trevor even got up to take a shower and then realized that it was still night.  Anyway, after sleeping 9 hours, we feel like we're on track to get into Ethiopian time by bedtime tonight:)

On our initial impressions of Ethiopia:
It hit me on Sunday morning in Washington DC as we were standing in line at the Ethiopian airlines gate that we were truly headed to Africa.  As a couple who is not very well travelled, we really didn't know what to expect.  I suppose some of what we saw when we were landing yesterday morning was what I would consider stereotypical Africa...beautiful horizons and strikingly lush yet dusty landscapes.  However, once we landed in Addis, it was clear that this is a big city in Ethiopia and with it comes lots of people!  Once we got our luggage {which all made it except for one of the couple's duffle of donations}, we headed through "security".  The security guard asked us what was in our luggage and when we told him clothes and toiletries, he told us just to go on through, no luggage check, no body scan, no removal of shoes, just expedited right to the front of the line.  Perhaps our looks of jetlag and general bewilderment made us seem safe.  

Once through the gate, we quickly found our driver from our guest house, got loaded up in the cars and headed to our space.  The driving here is CRAZY!! The infrastructure leaves something to be desired, with many unpaved streets and no signs or lights to indicate to drivers when to stop, yield, etc.  We did come up to a particularly busy intersection where some uniformed men (police officers?) were directing traffic.  It's just a good thing their car horns work and they are used to driving in this traffic and squeezing into tight spaces!  Another thing I noticed is that, in America, we get angry or irritated if someone honks their horn at us, but here in ET, it's just how they communicate.  We saw some very-near misses, but no one seemed upset, they just sort of smiled and plowed on through.

Anyway, we arrived at our guest house around 9:00 a.m. and, although we'd already been fed breakfast on the plane, the lady at our guest house brought us to breakfast, where I had some yummy fresh pineapple juice.  They are very hospitable here!

On meeting Bek:
Once settled, we called our in-country contact, Hermella, and she had the TDS  (our guest house) driver bring us to the HOH where Bek is.  Our hearts were fluttering, to say the least, and the first little one I saw was my friend, Emily's little guy.  He stood in the doorway of a little room and waved great big and my heart was already melted!!  Hermella then led all three families {us, the Dorrs, and Kristine} up the stairs to the meeting room and we traded cameras.

Kristine's little girl came first, followed by our sweet baby boy.  He was clinging tightly to Hermella, so we spoke to him for a minute and then took him. He looked so scared and just stared for a minute, and then he started to cry.  Now, I don't mean a little whimper, oh no...our boy has some lungs!!  We bounced him around and spoke sweetly to him and told him he was ours and we loved him so much.  But, poor little guy didn't want to hear it!  We passed him back and forth for what seemed like an hour {I honestly have no idea how long it was} while he screamed, chewed on his finger, and dug at his little ears.  We noticed right away that his two little bottom teeth had just broken the surface and I am kicking myself for not bringing baby oragel and an antibiotic for what I'm sure is an ear infection :(.

Anyway, he finally cried himself to sleep and I held my own sleeping baby for the first time.  It was wonderful!  About 30 minutes or so later, Hermella came in with our kids' lunches, so we woke him to feed him what appeared to be rice cereal with cheese {yum, yum!}.  He quickly ate every last bite with me holding him and Trevor feeding him.  He cried through the whole meal, randomly spitting the baby food on me (I consider it an induction into being his mother) and, when he was finished, Hermella cleaned his face and I swooped him up and held him close, telling him over and over again that he was such a good boy, that he'd slept good and had eaten good, that we loved him.  And, he stopped crying {cue hallelujah chorus}!

Trevor then held him for a while and he was a whole different baby, totally relaxed in his daddy's arms.  The crying was over except the occasional whimper while he chewed his finger and pulled on his ear. We then took him back to his room for nap time and headed to the TDS hotel for lunch.  Hermella told us we could skip the afternoon visit if we wanted to, but we just had her give us an hour for lunch and then come back to get us.

So, we went back for round 2.  It was much better this time, though he acted pretty lethargic.  He really really liked Trevor this time.  We went into the infant playroom and sat on the floor with the three babies.  We were all so tired we were somewhat delirious this time.  Trevor laid on the floor and Bek laid on his chest for a long time, just chillin and loving on his dad.  So sweet!  Once 5:00 hit, Hermella told us our time was up, so we returned him to his room and headed toward the van.  As we were leaving, we walked with the Dorrs as they returned their daughter to the toddler playroom to play with baby Moses and baby Epheim.  I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the cute little guys and then we loaded up in the van and headed back to TDS for the night.