Aidan Birhanu Miller Robinson

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sweet Babies

Aidan is 3 months old today. We hate not being with him to celebrate this milestone, but we know that he is in wonderful hands and that the Holt caregivers are giving him TONS of love and attention.

My sister, Nichole, also had her baby today! Ava Rose Gray was born at 9:03am and weighs 9lbs., 4oz. and is 21.5 inches long. What a sweet baby girl. I can't wait to spoil my new niece!

Mommy and Daddy before the big arrival!

Mommy, Aunties, Ella (and Ava too!) before her debut!

Uncle Liam and Ava

Auntie and Ava

Sweetest baby girl!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Durame Care Center- TAKE THREE

Can you tell, I'm a bit obsessed now. It's just amazing to think that my little guy is here. I also found some pictures of the nursery, so take a look. It doesn't look like the nursery that we are planning for him, but I love how colorful and inviting it is. Liam and I feel very blessed to know that Aidan is in great hands. We just can't wait until he's home with us.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Durame Care Center~ TAKE TWO!

I had the pictures from the old Durame Care Center. They moved the center earlier this year and this is the new location. Thanks Jen for sending me the pictures from your trip. That's another thing I love about this adoption world I've discovered. People that I don't know (and probably would have never met) from all parts of the United States, we now have a common bond and a shared language. So, enjoy! This has been Aidan's home for the last month.

Take a look at the laundry photo. Have you ever seen so many clothes on a clothesline? And to think, I complain about keeping up with two people's laundry!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy 8th Anniversary...

to my sister and her husband. Guess what their anniversary gift to each other is? A beautiful baby girl who will be making her arrival on Friday! We can't wait to meet you Baby Ava! Aidan is so lucky to have a cousin who will be exactly 3 months younger than him. I know they will be great buddies (just like their mommys)!

What do you think?

I'm trying to choose the bedding for Aidan's nursery. I know that I want his theme to be Africa/Safari, but I'm having trouble choosing the actual bedding. What do you think? Which is your favorite?


Baby Cocoa

African Dreams

*Right now, my favorites are Sahara and African Dreams (first and third). Choices, Choices...It's hard being so indecisive!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Durame Care Center

I've had many people ask where Aidan is living at the moment. He's currently at the Durame Care Center (orphanage). Durame is southwest of the capital city of Addis Ababa. He'll be there for another month or so and then be moved to Addis Ababa in preparation for our journey to Ethiopia. The following are some pictures of the care center at Durame. Look at the 6th picture down. That's the nursery. It's cool to think that that's the same room where Aidan is now. I'm happy to know that our little boy is in excellent care. The Durame Care Center appears to be a clean, yet very busy (what would you think with so many children), and nurturing place.

Hold on our sweet boy. Mommy and Daddy will be there soon!

Wouldn't It Be Amazing...

Okay, so I'm giving a desire over to God and praying that it comes true!

I've been reading (aka stalking) my email and the Holt Ethiopian Yahoo forum since the day we turned in all of our acceptance paperwork in hopes that we'll get word pretty soon as to when we will be submitted for a court date. I've seen through the forum that several people who received referrals at the end of September recently were assigned court dates in mid-December. From what I can tell, many people that got their referrals in late August have court dates for the beginning of December. If the pattern holds (honestly, I'm not even sure if there is a pattern) then we MAY get a court date for the end of December!

This would be significant for a number of reasons, but mainly because the sooner we get a court date and are approved, the sooner we get to bring Aidan home. December 30th is also our 10th anniversary. Can you think of a better anniversary/Christmas gift than seeing our son for the first time? The 29th of December will also mark Aidan's 5th month of life. Liam and I would love to be there to celebrate this milestone with our son. Last, though certainly not a huge factor, Liam and I will both be on Christmas break. I could use the days that I would have needed a sub towards my maternity leave.

So, I'm praying (and I hope all of you will, as well). I know that we're told not to expect the same timelines as other families. Just because we received referrals around the same time, does not guarantee that our court or travel dates will be the same. However, it's hard not to feel anxious and excited each time we see another court date being announced.

So, there it is. We know that God is ultimately the architect of this adoption, and we know that His timing is always perfect, so whatever happens, we are confident it's for a reason. Our desire, of course, is to have Aidan home as soon as possible. Every day that he's not here, feels like a huge part of our family is missing.

Please continue to pray for Aidan and that we'll receive news soon as to when we'll be traveling the first time. Please also pray that we'll pass court with very little stress or problems. Thanks again to all those that are following our adoption journey. It's an amazing ride!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Exactly 1 Week...

Since the first time I saw the beautiful face of our son!
We love you, Aidan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Story...

I wanted to share the specifics of our referral day before the memory escapes me (though I honestly don't think that's possible).

Wednesday, October 13th, began like any other day. I can truthfully say that I didn't even suspect that it could be "The Day". I knew we were getting close (number 5), but it still seemed so unbelievable. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to convince myself that it's real...we finally know who our little boy is--and oh, he's so precious. He's more than what we could have ever dreamed or hoped for.

Anyway, around 2pm, I decided to check out the Holt forum on Yahoo to see if there was any news. I was shocked to see that the family in front of us had posted that they received a referral that morning. I couldn't believe it and quickly convinced myself that I must either have their number wrong or their criteria was unique, causing them to jump ahead of the other 3 families in front of them. As I was clicking on the database to see what gender and age they requested, my cell phone rang.

**Let me stop for just a moment to tell you what a complete dork I if my family and friends have any doubt. A couple of months ago I got a new cell phone and I assigned different ringtones to certain callers. Liam's is "Everlasting Love", my family's is "Home", etc. I had programed an African ringtone to play anytime that Holt or our social worker called. So, when I heard that familiar tune (it's never actually rang on it's own, but I've listened to it dozens of times imagining "the call"), I knew who it was.

I started shaking. My class was in the middle of desk work, so I ran to the back of the room and as far as I can remember, this was the conversation:

Me: Hi (excitedly)

Jenn: Hi, Melanie. This is Jennifer at Holt International. How are you?

Me: Fine (yeah, yeah...would it be impolite just to burst out, "tell me about my baby?"). Is this the call?

Jenn: Well, do you have a couple of minutes to talk (Adoption lingo for "We have a referral for you")

Me: Oh, my gosh...YES! Let me grab a teacher to come to my room.

Running up the hall, I grabbed the nearest teacher and she came to watch my class. I ran into the office and by this time, I already had quite an audience as I'm sure that I was acting like a crazed woman with a big goofy grin on my face.

Jenn: We have a referral to offer you. It's for a little boy.

I lost it somewhere in here. I just started crying and every detail that she told me, caused a new flood of tears.

Jenn: He's 2 and a half months old.

Me: (Blubbering mess)

Jenn: He was born July 29th.

Me: (Blubbering, babbling mess)

Jenn: His Ethiopian name is _______________.

Me: (Big, Blubbering, babbling mess) Okay, Okay.
(By this time my head was spinning).

Finally, my principal and about 10 other teachers who had congregated in the office shouted, "Tell us!" In a rush of incoherent babbling, I told them everything that Jenn had told me. They all cheered and hearing them, Jenn started to laugh.

I don't really remember what happened next. I asked her what I needed to do (I was actually surprised that I could form the thought, much less the words to ask). She told me that she would email me the health information along with his pictures and then from there we would either accept or refuse the referral.

I tried to call Liam (who was in Springfield), but my hands were shaking too badly- I'm not sure even if they weren't that I would be able to remember the number to dial it. Our school secretary called. No answer. We called another 5 times in quick succession. Still no answer. I texted him telling him to call me, and he FINALLY did. He knew instantly what I was going to say and though, I tried to play coy, he kept saying, "I know its the referral". He said that he would be at the school in about 30-40 minutes so that we could open his picture together.

It was the longest 40 minutes of my life, partly because 40 minutes turned into an hour and a half, by the time that he went by my sister's to pick up the camcorder so that we could record our reaction. It was also the end of the school day and traffic for parent pick-up was congested. During this time, I recall calling my sister and dad to let them know our great news. Liam either called me or I called him, to ask about the specifics of the referral (gender, age, etc.- all the things that in my excitement, I forgot to tell him the first time.)

Finally, Liam got to my school and one of the teachers took the camcorder and another had a camera and they (along with about 20 of my co-workers) followed us into my classroom. The whole thing was just so surreal.

I opened the email from Jennifer. I saw that the first 3 attachments were health information. Taking a deep breath, I went straight to the first of 5 that were pictures and clicked on it....

Nothing. (well, actually, a picture came up, but it looked like a purple negative...we couldn't make out anything.) I tried the next one. The same. Then the next...still no picture.

We buzzed the media specialist to come to my room to see if she could figure out the problem. Luckily, my principal found a solution. She asked me to forward the email to her and we could see if the pictures opened on her computer. I did. As she went to check, Liam and I waited anxiously and continued to try to pull up the pictures on my computer. Then, I heard...

"Mrs. Robinson, please come to the office."

I ran.

Liam and I went to her computer IN HER OFFICE (for all of you that saw the pics I posted, NO, I do not have that many diplomas- I wish) and clicked on the email. We took a deep breath and clicked on the first picture attachment and there he was...

The funniest, cutest, most precious little boy. The first picture of him was clearly one that was taken when he was startled by the camera.

We both began to cry and laugh.

Together, we clicked on the next four pictures of our son and instantly, fell in love. Each picture was better than the one before. I cried, Liam cried, the teachers cried. My principal cried. It was wonderful.

From that day to this, has been a flood of excitement. We've emailed his picture to countless amounts of friends and family (each has agreed that he's the most perfect baby ever), we've announced our great news at church, and shopped like CRAZY! We're so's hard to contain the joy that we feel.

I've stared at his picture dozens of times. In fact, it's become Liam's and my favorite activity. We'll just look at our son and imagine the day when he's home with us. Is it really possible to love someone so much that you've never met, never held, and that you only recently saw for the first time? He's so amazing...

I have to tell you, that all those nights (and days) waiting to see my child, I prayed the same prayer:

1. Please let him be healthy
2. Please let him be as young as possible (I didn't want him to spend his first birthday in an orphanage)
3. Please let me fall in love with his Ethiopian name. Let it go well with the name we have chosen, and let it have special meaning.
4. Please let us receive clear pictures of our little child.
5. And please let us "just know" that this is the child that You have meant for us. Let us feel a connection to this little scrap of humanity, this child...our child.

God answered all of our prayers and more-

God is So Good!!!!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's Next?

Since we received our referral on Wednesday, we've had so many people ask us when we get to bring Aidan home. In short, we don't know.

One thing that we've learned about international adoption (and probably domestic as well) is that it's a 'hurry up and wait game'. So, the day that we got our referral and verbally accepted it (as if we would refuse!), we were sent the formal acceptance paperwork. Because we left right after school to go to my sister's, parent's and grandmother's (not to mention, we fit church in there as well) to show off the newest member of our family, we didn't get the paperwork until Thursday. Compared to all the paperwork that preceded it, this was not very much, but it still required a notary. We were only able to get to the bank on Friday. So, after school yesterday we hurried to our bank to get the paperwork notarized and withdraw the money for the final adoption fees. We then raced across town to the UPS store (the post office was already closed) to mail the most important package of our lives (I must have checked it 1000 times, I think the clerk thought I was insane).

Now we wait.

We wait for Holt to tell us that they received the paperwork (should be Monday), we wait for them to tell us that it's been forwarded to Ethiopia, and we wait to be contacted (in 1-3 months) to say that we've been submitted to court. About a month later, they should contact us with a court date. Then, we'll have a month to a month and a half to prepare for our first trip to Ethiopia. Sometime during this time, Aidan will be transfered from the Durame Care Center (where he is now) to the capital city of Addis Ababa and the Holt Care Center there.

Good news is that our dossier has been in Ethiopia since June, so it should already be translated into Amharic (the language of Ethiopia) and we received our 171H paperwork (US immigration approval to adopt- mental note to self: I have to check if Ethiopia has received this), so there should be nothing to hold up the process. From the Holt forum on Yahoo, it appears that most families who received referrals in late August and September are being assigned court dates in December. Based on this, I'm SPECULATING that our court date will be sometime in January.

On this first trip, we'll attend an orientation and meetings, do a bit of touring and shopping (with the group), attend our court hearing where we are praying to hear the words "HE IS YOURS", and absolute best of all, meet our son for the first time. We're told that we should get to see him for about 2 hours. All in all, we'll be in Ethiopia for only two days this first time.

Then we will return around 8-12 weeks later (Holt is always conservative with their timeframes, so we're thinking March) after all the paperwork has been drawn up. On this trip, we will FINALLY take custody of Aidan. We'll be in country, I believe, about 3-4 days and then get on the plane that will bring us all home. Aidan will finally and forever be ours.

Adoption is a test of patience, but looking at our son's (so awesome to be able to say that) face, we know that everything from beginning- 4+ years ago- to end, has all been worth it. You are well worth the wait, little A.

Some specific prayer requests:

-please pray for God's continued guidance throughout this process.

-pray that nothing will occur to slow the process and that all of our paperwork will clear quickly and easily.

-pray for the Holt caregivers that are taking fantastic care of our son and countless others.

-Most of all, please pray for Aidan that he will remain healthy and that he's happy and that this transition will be as close to stress-free as possible for him.

I'm sure I'll have other prayer requests as we get closer to our court date. Thanks for continuing to follow along on this journey. I can't wait to introduce Aidan to all the amazing people in his life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Praise God!

Yesterday afternoon I finally heard the words that I've waited an eternity to hear...


It's a boy! Aidan Robinson was born on July 29th. He's 10 weeks old and absolutely perfect from his bald little head to his big brown eyes and round little tummy. We are in love and over the moon with excitement. I'll post the specifics of our referral day at a later time. I'm riding the euphoria of actually seeing his cute little face for the first time.

I can't post pictures or his Ethiopian name yet (International Adoption laws are very strict on this). However, I can share a couple of pictures from the happiest day of my life.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

A special thanks to all of my wonderful co-workers for making our referral day amazing, and especially for Lori and Jenni who captured the whole thing on film and video.