Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Heart on a Screen

As I type, we are flying at 39,000 ft with 3 hours to go until we land in Nairobi. I've only watched one movie because I can't keep my eyes off the interactive map that shows our flight progress. I have watched us leave London, pass Austria and Greece (along with many other European lands), fly over Crete and the Mediterranean Sea and then enter air space of a land I know so little about yet love so much - Africa. Maybe it's the homeschooler in me who loves watching us fly over all of these places we have studied and will study again this year. I think, though, that it's because I have a promised son in this land. We will fly over Ethiopia en route to Nairobi, and I just keep staring at that map. He's there somewhere. Our soon-to-be son. And so I stare. Because it's the closest I've ever been to him.

Our travel process has been fairly smooth. We left our house yesterday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in a big, black suburban. A kind friend from church had a car service take us to JFK. The kids thought it was cool being picked up like the president or famous people. It was definitely nice to sit back and let someone else do the driving. As Donny and I took our final steps out of our house, he looked at me and said:  "Let's go get him." Mush. From that moment on, I have been fairly laser focused on one thing: adopting our son. It's time to do this.

Back to travel: Let me tell you - I have never driven with a native New Yorker before through lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. When you are super confident and know what you're doing, you can really get places. Let's just say I was a little white knuckled here or there, but he was great.

We got to JFK with lots of time to spare. Once we checked in and got through security, we got the kids McDonalds and took it to a restaurant where I could get a salad. I don't remember the last time I had a salad. It's been lots of frozen pizzas and breakfast for dinner around here while we've been packing/planning.

After dinner, I realized that I had forgotten lip balm, so the kids and I went into a "Hudson News" bookstore to see if they had lip balm. While in the store, I had my first New York star sighting. I saw Padma from Top Chef. I didn't have my camera with me, so I ran back to get it, and once she had checked out, I went up to her and asked if I could take a picture with her. She had her daughter with her, so she politely declined. I told her how we were flying to Ethiopia to adopt our little boy, and I thought it would be so fun that meeting her was part of our story. We introduced our daughters to each other which was so fun, and then she asked her daughter if she knew what adoption was. Her daughter didn't really respond. Padma said she would explain more about it to her later. She was very kind and gracious to me, her airport stalker, and Millie.

Once we finally boarded our plane, which was delayed, we sat on the tarmack for roughly an hour waiting to be cleared for take-off. Apparently the president was there earlier and had held up departures a bit. We settled into our flight, and we tried not to worry about whether we would make our layover in London.

The kids have been doing great. Will fell asleep during our wait on the tarmack before we even took off from JFK yesterday and slept the whole flight until I had to wake him to put on shoes and put his seat upright. The big kids watched a movie, we ate an unexpected meal around 10:30 pm, and we all fell asleep after about an hour and a half into the flight. I have no idea how long we slept, but I guess maybe 4ish hours.

Now we are on our final few hours before Nairobi. Thankfully, we made our connection, but it was close. We arrived at the gate about 10 minutes before the gates were scheduled to close. The kids have been awake this flight which I hope means they will sleep well tonight. The flight has lots of great on-demand movies and even some video games, so they have been well entertained. 

Overall, I don't know that it could have been smoother. I thank the Lord for his continued grace and provision for our family. We are ready to adopt our boy, and we couldn't be more thankful that we have our whole family here to do it together. Thanks for your continued prayers.

We fly to Ethiopia Saturday morning, will drive 3 hours to his orphanage, and then we will meet our boy for the first time. My heart is thrilled even writing those words. As the east coast wakes Saturday morning, we should have him in our arms. We will love on him with all that we can for three days and then head back to Addis Ababa to appear in court next Tuesday. We won't bring him home with us this trip. Once we adopt him, the U.S. Embassy takes 4-6 weeks to complete all they need to do to prepare him for immigration and citizenship. Then we will race back to get him and bring him home forever hopefully at the end of August or beginning of September.

As you sleep early Monday morning, we will be saying good-bye to him. Writing those words hurts my heart. Pray that our embassy process will be surprisingly swift. We can't wait to bring him home.

Thanks again for all of your love and support. I don't plan to blog much more while we are gone, although I may surprise myself. We'll post quick updates here and there on Facebook. An hour and 22 minutes left of flight time. I think I'll go stare at my map. We're coming for you, little one.

Quick pic of Millie and Will under their "tents" doing what they did most of the JFK-Nairobi flight: Movies and Video Games. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

An update, and the winner of our giveaway is....

Rusty Harding!!!!

Sorry we are a few days late on this, but Millie was excited to draw this morning for our Adoption Fundraising Giveaway. Congrats, Rusty!!!

We are humbled and in awe to report that, by God's grace and the generosity of many, we met 100% our adoption fundraising goal!!! The generosity of our friends and family has been incredible. It really does take a village, and we will continue to need your love, prayers and support now and in the many days and months ahead once we bring our little guy home.

If you had a desire to give and didn't get to it yet, you can still give. There are other "extra" expenses that will come along the way, but it is so good to know we have met all of the absolutely necessary expenses to bring our guy home. 

In case you missed my post on Facebook, we received a court date and will travel to meet him next week! We will officially adopt him to be ours forever on July 28. I will try to post again before we leave, but I can't make any promises. Please pray for our travel over the next two weeks. We are taking our entire family with us, so we are praying that the Lord uses this time to begin molding us into a family of six.

We will not bring him home with us on this trip. Once we pass court, it will take a month to six weeks for him to go through US Embassy  approval to be issued the proper paperwork to come home. Please join us in praying that we can bring him home at the end of August or very beginning of September. Our prayer from the beginning has been that he would be home by Hunter's birthday on September 14. 

Thanks again for your incredible love and support of our family.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Final Countdown

In December, our kids received an XBOX 360 from their Aunt and Uncle. It came with a Kinect sensor that allows them to play the games using their whole body. One of our favorite games is Just Dance 4 where we get points for following the right dance moves. One of our favorite songs in the game is "The Final Countdown" by Europe where two guys dressed as wrestlers dance battle it out. It is very commonplace in our family to hear our four year old humming or singing "The Final Countdown," and that is pretty much awesome.

Well, in a manner of speaking, the final countdown has begun for our family. We received a call yesterday that the final letter needed for us to receive a court date has been submitted to the courts in Ethiopia. Yesterday we were told, "When the court docket comes out next week, your name will be on the list."

I had her repeat that part: "Our name will be on the list."

AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! It's finally here!!!! Hopefully this time next week we will know the date we will go to make our little guy a Friederichsen.

Can you hear it? "Da, dah, Da, dah,'s the FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!!"

Hopefully more next week with news that we are packing our bags!!!! Until then, enjoy this little music video and just imagine our little family rocking it out, cause it's THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

138 days - A Fundraising GIVEAWAY!!!!

First family picture with our little guy back in February.
It's been 138 days since we first saw his face (which is hidden under the heart until we officially adopt him).

138 Days - As of today, it has been 138 days since we saw our future son's face for the first time. Lord willing, there won't be too many more days that will pass before we meet him face to face.

Today I woke up to Facebook posts from families who are leaving for Ethiopia today having been given TWO DAYS NOTICE. Yes, they were called Thursday and are leaving for Ethiopia today. Some of these families are only two weeks ahead of us in the process. It's getting real, folks. Getting THE CALL to travel to go meet our soon-to-be son and officially adopt him could be very close.

We still have about $5000 to raise to be fully funded to travel to adopt him, bring him home, and complete our final adoption expenses. The grants we were hoping to receive to finish off our adoption expenses did not pan out. We are so thankful that we have received some generous donations in the past few weeks, but we are not finished yet!

In honor of our 138 days of knowing our little one's name and face, we are holding a fundraising giveaway!!! 
We are giving away a $138 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!!!

You can enter our giveaway twice. Here's how to enter:
1. Click here to give a donation of ANY AMOUNT, large or small, to our adoption fund with Lifesong for Orphans. Any donation will enter you into our giveaway. Want to give $1 just to be entered? Great!!! We would love for you to be a part of our little guy's story.
If you would like to donate via check rather than paypal, let me know. I can send you the address of where to send a check.

2. Share this blog post/giveaway via Facebook or another social media outlet. Other adoption-minded individuals might be excited enter our giveaway to help us bring our little guy home. We would love your help to SPREAD THE WORD. If you share our giveaway, you can comment on this blog post or comment/message me personally on Facebook, and I will put your name in for a second entry.

Here's something fun to think about: Would you consider giving $138 in honor of our little man and our wait for him to this point? If that is too much or if you want to give more, that is totally fine. Just think - if 37 people gave $138, our needs would be met. Cool, right? OR - What if 138 people gave (even small amounts)? That would be awesome, too. I'll try to post a thermometer on our blog to track the status of the giveaway. This will be SO MUCH FUN to see how the Lord provides.

Giveaway ends on Monday, July 13. I will put all names in a bowl and have our kids draw for a winner on July 16 to celebrate five months since first seeing his face. My prayer is that when we draw for the giveaway that we will also be scrambling making travel plans. Only the Lord knows!!!

If you are a first time visitor to our blog and would like more details about our adoption journey and our financial provision/stewardship throughout the last three years, you are welcome to browse through our blog to learn more of our story. Here are a few specific links:
The Beginnings of our Adoption Process
138 Days Ago - Our Referral Call
June 2015 Update on the State of the Friederichsen Adoption Funds

Thanks for considering our family's needs. Above all, please pray that the time remaining to see him face to face will be short and that the Lord will prepare all of us to be together as a family forever.