Madine Family



Posted on : 12/30/2010 | By : Joanna

Christmas was great and very tiring :). My mom was visiting from Savannah, and my sister and her family were up from Houston. My mom was the only one staying at our house, but we managed to get some fun play dates in for the kids.

Taking a stroll around (not all the way around) White Rock Lake with Mommy and MiMi.

Sharing blocks (at least for a moment) with cousin Evie.

Collecting the blocks with cousin Georgia.
I know this pic looks like an intense stare down, but everything was okay. :)
Sucking on a roll.
Learning about her new musical instruments.

Three Weeks Home


Posted on : 12/23/2010 | By : Joanna

Christmas day will be three weeks home for us and things are going really well. It's just amazing how far Maeve has come in such a short time. She went from only drinking formula (for comfort I'm sure) to now wanting to eat everything we're eating, which is hard to manage with only 4.5 front teeth :) It took us about a week and a half to get her adjusted to our time zone. She's still waking up at least once a night, sometimes because she's itchy, or hungry, or scared.

Her skin issues have really improved. I'd say most of the ringworm is gone, but there's something on her feet that's putting up a fight and really giving her a hard time. We're only 3 weeks in to the medication that was prescribed for 6-8 weeks, so we'll have to see how it goes.

The attachment process is coming along well. She really likes/loves us both and gives us lots of affection. It was really tough at first because she definitely preferred me, having only had female caregivers. I had to hold her constantly. Then, when she allowed me to have her on the floor playing, she'd have a complete meltdown if I was out of her sight for a second. This is getting a lot better though. If I step into the kitchen, she'll get up and follow me..and will even go to her room on her own to get a new toy. Mark is home for the whole week, so I've been trying to give them some time without me, which really has help their bonding. He's a great dad.

Maeve is just a joy. She is so smart and fun. She loves to laugh, take a bath, dance, and sing.

She's already learned the following:
-"Kah-Kah" (She came to us knowing this one. It means poop, but she uses it for trash. She will stop dead in her tracks, bend over, and bring us the tiniest piece of paper or lent and whisper "Kah-Kah". Of course, if you make a big deal about it, she realizes it must be something good and runs in the other direction. 
-"Hi" With a wave and is very sweet. Working on "Bye"
-"Up" or "Up please" (Uh-pee)This is when she wants to be held, or for Mark to lift her higher.
-"More" (mah) Trying to get her to ask for more food, rather than grunting or yelling. 
-"Mama & DaDa" She's not consistent with these just yet. 
-"Baby" (Buh-beh)
-"Cheese" She says this really well, but may not be smiling or even looking at the camera. :)
- Blows kisses (her kisses are the cutest fish face) and "winks" (double blinks)

Maeve with her babies.

First Doctor's visit. Everything was great until the blood draws :(

Trying out her new shades.

Checking herself out in the oven reflection.

Fun in the leaves on an unseasonably warm day.

My first "cheese!"

We are home!


Posted on : 12/05/2010 | By : Joanna

We are home! The flights home were a marathon, but not quite as terrible as I expected. Maeve is a joy, such a sweetheart and handful. This pic is from our first night together in the hotel in Addis Ababa. She's wearing her "Everyone is Thankful for me" Pj's. I think it will take us about a week just to get adjusted to US time (Maeve is still on Addis time). Then we need to start working on a regular schedule/routine. We have a doctor's appointment later this week to begin sorting out skin and tummy issues. Getting those things under control will certainly make life easier. We're almost through he piles of laundry and haven't even begun to get our pics from the camera to the computer. Mark and I both have sinus colds and very sore throats, adding to the tiredness, but we're hanging in there and trying to sleep when we can. We couldn't be happier! :)

We're off...AGAIN !!!!!


Posted on : 11/23/2010 | By : Joanna

We're heading back to Ethiopia today! Finally!

We'll be there for about 10 days and will be bringing our daughter home....finally! :)

Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel, good health, and easy transitions for us all.

We are absolutely over the moon!

Thank you all very much for your love, prayers, and support...not just during our adoption journey...but always.

We'll do our best to post/email/facebook updates, but we really can't post pictures of her until we are here are a few glimpses until you see her in person.

(Tiny little hand)

(Skinny long feet) :)

(Beautiful curls) :)

When we see you next, we'll be a full fledged family of three!

God bless! (Joanna & Mark)
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We're going to get our baby girl !!!!!


Posted on : 11/07/2010 | By : Joanna

We found out on Friday that we being submitted for the November 30th Embassy appointment. 
That means we'll be with our daughter in Ethiopia for Thanksgiving and bringing her homing during the first week of December! Praise the Lord! We are so Thankful and just can't wait to see her again. 



Posted on : 11/07/2010 | By : Joanna

Hand-carved Ethiopian crosses 
(background is a scarf I bought there).

Hand-painted, hand-carved art, depicting biblical scenes 
(my favorite piece).

Traditional Ethiopian coffee pot



Injera baskets (Ethiopian bread, kind of like a thick, slightly sour crepe)

Traditional scene made from banana leaves 
(we bought 3 different ones)

Silver Ethiopian cross charm for Maeve when she's older. 
I liked it because the top looks like a four leaf clover. 

Baby Showers


Posted on : 11/07/2010 | By : Joanna

"Friends" shower at our house.
I made these cookie favors for everyone (the heart is over Ethiopia).
Isn't Mark so cute in his Ethiopia T-Shirt?
"Family" shower given by my sister and step-mom. (Lily is the national flower of Ethiopia)
Family :)

"Work Friends" shower. 
That's us behind that big pile of gifts.

Thank you everyone!

Photos from our First Trip


Posted on : 11/07/2010 | By : Joanna

Here we are at the beginning of an 18 hour journey.
Approaching Ethiopia. So much anticipation looking out across the darkness, knowing our daughter is there. 

This is the view from the roof top of our guest house (smog in the distance).
We were lucky enough to be there during a very big Christian holiday "Meskel"- Finding of the True Cross. You can learn more about it here. We went to the city center and celebrated with the locals. We were struck by how peaceful it all was. I doubt you'd be able to gather a few hundred thousand American in one place without a few issues. 

At the culmination of the celebration, they light a huge bon fire.
It was amazing. We felt so blessed to be in our daughter's country, celebrating this special day.
Since it was a holiday, the guest house staff put on a large breakfast for us that morning and a traditional coffee ceremony. 
This was my view at breakfast :). For the record, my hubby only drinks tea, but asked for seconds when served the best coffee in the world. 
We made a pit stop to bring a ton of coffee home with us. 
View from the golf course near the care center.

Happy Birthday!


Posted on : 10/15/2010 | By : Joanna

Happy Birthday to our sweet baby girl! Oh how we wish we could be with you!
We know that you have no idea that today is your birthday, mainly because you are only one, but also because they don't celebrate birthdays in Ethiopia. So, even though this is no big deal to you, it's a big deal for Mommy and Daddy. Our hearts ache today even more than usual, and we pray we'll get to see you again very soon. Every day with you is a gift and a blessing, and we don't take one second for granted. 
We love you, Sweetheart!

Happy Anniversary!


Posted on : 10/12/2010 | By : Joanna

Happy anniversary to my hubby, Mark! I love you so much! I thank God everyday for making you for me. 
Life wouldn't be nearly as sweet without you, and I cannot imagine this adoption journey without you. 
Just when I thought I couldn't love you more, I saw the way your face lit up when you met our daughter. 
We are so lucky to have you. You are a wonderful husband, and I can't wait to see what a wonderful father you will be.
I love you, babe!

Ray LaMontagne- "You are the Best Thing"

"Then she is yours!"


Posted on : 9/30/2010 | By : Joanna

Hi everyone!We made it safe and sound to Addis. Our flights were pretty easy. Sleep has been more of an on and off sort of thing :) We arrived to find out that we are not staying at the Union asexpected, but at a different guest house. It is very nice and the front desk guy is letting me use his blazing fast Internet connection...a good surprise. Another huge surprise is that today (Sunday here) is not a "free" dayfor us. We have several things scheduled including meeting our little girl for a three hour visit! We thought we were going to have to wait until tomorrow. Happy day! We meet our daughter in just over 6 hours. Gotta run to breakfast. I'll try to write soon to tell you all about her. Love to you all, Joanna & Mark

Sorry I haven't been able to email sooner. Our schedules have been pretty packed. We got to see Maeve Dename this morning for a couple of hours this morning too, but let me tell you about our meeting.I'm sitting here not know how to even begin, there is so much that can't even be put into words and so much that I can probably not put into words right I'll tell you all about it in person and just be a little brief for now. We recognized her the moment we saw her with the nanny coming down the stairs. She is just as beautiful as ever. She was pretty scarred and cried at first, maybe for about 30 seconds. She calmed down pretty quickly and had about three hours with her playing and "talking" to her. She is such a joy and blessing! She is very curious and aware of everything going on around her. She stares at you and just studies every little thing. Anytime a baby cried, she whipped her head around to see what was going on. She was very concerned about them. We realized that we are probably going to be in trouble because this little girl is crazy smart. She figures things out very quickly. As I mentioned, she is stinking cute. She has her two middle bottom teeth and the two up top are almost in. She has a little bit of hair, tiny black curls. It's longer and thicker on the top. Her eyes are amazing and I'm totally jealous of those lashes she has. She has long thin fingers and feet, so we're wondering if she might out grow Mommy...and maybe Daddy. Oh, she says Da-Da a lot. We're know it doesn't mean anything, but it melts our hearts just the same. At the end of our visit, Mark was holding her when the nanny came to take her. She started crying and threw her arms around Mark's neck. The nanny said,"Dename?!", surprised that she preferred him already :). Today was a much shorter visit, lunch time feedings and some playing. She fell asleep on my chest. I could have stayed like that for days. I cannot tell you what a blessing she is. Her kind spirit, mixed with a little spunk, is a perfect fit for us. I can't imagine it being any other child. We have our court hearing tomorrow and then a very short visit to say goodbye. I don't think leaving will be as hard as I thought. It's another milestone to bringing her home. We've seen for ourselves how well loved and cared for she is. It's just a matter of time. I feel very much at peace. The void has been filled and we are so grateful!

Just have time for a quick update. We're going to dinner and then to the airport to come home. It's been a very long emotional day and we are all very tired.We had our court appointments this morning. All for families passed with no problem at all! We were only in her chambers for 3 mins! The judges last questions were. "Have you met her? Do you still want to adopt her?" Us: "Yes!" Judge: "Then she is yours!" The sweetest words we have ever heard. Now we have to wait for the official court order to be issued in a couple of weeks and then we are legally the parents of the most amazing little girl.Saying good bye was very hard, but we left her in her crib smiling and playing up until the last second. It's a great final image to have in our minds. Of course, we have lots of pic and videos as well. :)

We can't post photos or video until she is home, but if I see you in person , I'll be happy to show you.
We hope to travel again at the end of November.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. God is good!

AND WE'RE OFF!!!!! (trip 1)


Posted on : 9/23/2010 | By : Joanna

Thank you all for sharing this journey with us. This next leg is a big milestone. We are going to Ethiopia for our court date! We are part of a small group of guinea pigs with our agency and are happy to pioneer this part of the process.We'll get to meet our daughter and, if all goes well with court, we'll become parents while we are there. We'll return home for 8 weeks or so while we wait for her Visa/immigration paperwork to be ready. We hope to return to Ethiopia in November to bring her home for good. 

Tentative Schedule during our stay:
Friday- depart DFW at 4:30pm, arrive Addis Ababa Saturday 
             around 6pm local time (9am Sat Dallas Time)
Sunday- Free day (shopping/napping)
Monday- morning orientation and meeting our baby girl (around midnight 
              Saturday in Dallas)
              Afternoon- rehearsal of legal documents and meeting with the 
Tuesday- morning: appear for court 
              (pray for us Monday evening and into the night)
             Afternoon- shopping and brief time with our daughter
             Night- fly out 11pm (2pm Dallas time) 
Wednesday-land in Dallas around 2:30pm

Prayer Requests:
Please pray for safe travels and no glitches (delayed flight, luggage lost, etc)
…that all goes smoothly for our court hearing and that we finally become 
…for our health as we travel
…for our baby’s health and her spirit as she prepares for another 
     big adjustment over the next couple of months.
…for her birth family, the kind of comfort and peace only God can provide.
…for her many caregivers, true examples of God’s love.
…that God will soften the hearts of his people throughout the world to help 
    His children in Africa.
…that God’s will be done throughout this process, that we are able to trust 
    completely in Him, and  His Spirit fills us with calm and assurance as 
    we return home and wait to bring her home for good.  

We just can't wait to meet her!

Ben Solle- "Try" 
"I can't wait to hold your little hand"

Packing Donations


Posted on : 9/15/2010 | By : Joanna

This is really getting REAL! We leave for Ethiopia next week!
We are so blessed to have such great friends and family.
Look at all the amazing donations we get to take with us!

Toys and Books
20 pairs of shoes!
Wipes, toothbrushes, vitamins, etc.
Clothes and blankets

  We actually have a lot more clothes than this (I received them after I took these photos), and I have a little bit more money yet to spend.

It really is a privilege to be the bearers of all of these amazing gifts...and we wouldn't have been able to do it without my co-workers/friends. 
Thank you all so much!