Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas at home

I was lamenting how we always seem to get hung up on stuff around the holidays and all the stack of presents that kids need. Well, don't bother trying to tell the family that when you've got a new baby at home.
Here's a few photos of Ella's haul:


I love that concerned look she has, "Is this all for me?" or maybe "Is this stack gonna fall on me?"

She finally gets to play with some of the toys!

She knows when to clap too! This is one of my favorite memories of Christmas as Ella's Aunt Anne and her Great-Grandmother play the piano. Ella the music lover was really enjoying it!





Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finally, the Ethiopia trip video...


Everybody seems to do a little photo montage of Ethiopia when they get back, and well, we took our time getting around to it. We hope you enjoy it. Expect the director's cut soon with lots of bonus features and commentary.

-Charles

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Ella!

Here's Ella's cake that was painstakingly created by Ella's Aunt Dedra during her visit this last week. It is absolutely adorable! Thanks Dej!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ella meets Jack her cousin
















Ella had a really great visit this last week with Richard, Dedra, Jack, and Juliette. Here's some photos of her and her cousin Jack having some fun.










Monday, November 2, 2009

Ella's photo shoot

Here's a couple of pics from Ella's first photo shoot last week.

I love this smile - she is such a happy baby!
Those eyes! And if you look close you can see her two teeth on the bottom - the only teeth so far.



Ella and Baci

If you were wondering how Ella and her dog-sister Baci are getting along, here's a couple of updates on the progress... This one was from her Nonna, and the t-shirt says it all...








Halloween Weekend

Our friends had a redneck themed Halloween party, so we decided to take it up a notch and become redneck zombies.

Ella's not too sure about the costumes... yes that is a Wal-Mart bag for Ella to trick or treat with. We don't miss out on the details!


She did look pretty cute in her overalls and bandana though, and there is something really creepy about a zombie baby.
-Charles



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Counting my Blessings

Dear Ella,
I have not written a letter to you since we got you! I thought that I would start writing again so you can have a record of what this time was like. First thing I can say is it is hard and wonderful at the same time. You are so active these days, you have started crawling and we are so excited, but you are quick and everything goes directly in your mouth! Mommy is having a hard time getting any work done with you around. I thought it would be great that I can take you to work with me and it is, but I can't get any work done! I know that I am trying to do 2 full time jobs at the same time, but I am super-woman right?
Let me tell you a little about yourself, you are adorable and a really good baby. You get upset when you are hungry and/or I turn my back on you. You go to sleep at 8:30 or so and wake at 7:30 or 8:00--you are a great sleeper. You hate to nap at the shop, I think you feel as though you are missing something. You are crawling and pulling yourself up on things. You are funny--you make faces that crack everyone up and you are a real ham.
I have to go, because you are awake, but I want you to know that I love you! You and Daddy and Baci are the lights of my life and I am so grateful that you are in my life.
I will write again soon.
All my love,
Mommy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ella videos for Monday

Aunt Dej asked for more videos that show Ella doing regular baby stuff. Well here we go...



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ella has a taste for soul classics

Everytime we crank the music she wants to dance! Definitely our daughter...


Ella and Aunt Michelle Meet




Ella hit it off great with Aunt Michelle this week! We'll miss you!




Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ella at Ella's having brunch in the Elvis Booth

Ella would definitely recommend the Green Eggs and Ham if only Dad would share some of his breakfast. Brunch is definitely happening at Ella's Folk Art Cafe in Seminole Heights!!!



Check out the menu at www.ellasfolkartcafe.com


Ella testing bike helmets at City Bike in Tampa


Not sure if this fits but I'm hoping soon...


Ella at Carlos's Birthday Cookout


Ella sleeps through her first cookout party with her new buddy Aunt Brook while mommy sips a much-needed glass of wine.









Ella's Day Off

Ella relaxes in her Park(ing) Day park in Downtown with her big hat!






Ella took to the streets and definitely showed off her superstar status at Parking Day.






Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ella is adjusting just fine...


Thanks Sue for the book! She really loves it. One thing we found out quick in Ethiopia is that Ella loves books. Good news for my mom the librarian I suppose. She would grab at my magazine and chew on the corners of my book if I let her over there. Tabitha and her crew bought her the cutest book called Ella the Superstar and she wouldn't put it down.
She is happy at home to have a few books with pages fat enough she can grab. Look at that face though! She is having the time of her life! When this girl laughs, you can't keep from smiling! She is such a happy baby. In Ethiopia, many people who admired her on the street would say "She is so lucky" but trust me, we are the lucky ones.
-Charles

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ella and Amy talking over coffee

Ella and Amy get chatty over coffee at the Addis Ababa Hilton.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Home in the states finally!

Ella with the look that melted our heart. We are so lucky!
Ella warily looks away from Daddy after our first meeting. This is a few minutes into our time together.




We finally made it back to the sunny climate of Florida with Ella. I wanted to share some photos before we both crash and try to sleep off some of this jetlag. Ella is sleeping soundly in her bed next to us!




Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ethiopian Days

I wish I could get a picture out of here to show you what this all looks like, but we will have to wait until our return it seems. The internet connections here are horrible and drop in mid email. Photos don't load. Blogs won't load either.

Ella is wonderful and happy. She laughs a lot and seems to actually like being around us. She babbles but doesn't crawl. She sleeps through the night - most nights. She eats on a schedule and is amazingly well-behaved. She makes the other babies here look pretty fussy - although - we might be a little biased.

I can't wait to tell you all more about it but I am about to lose my connection here. It costs about $5 for a half hour of poor connections so my emails are frantic.

-Charles

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Ethiopia - Update!

We arrived safely last night to a rainy city in darkness. This morning we met our daughter Ella Sloan Eyerus Haynie! She is so beautiful and a very happy baby. She hasn't even had a big crying fit yet. The week is young though... I'm sorry we can't send a photo yet. We have a very spotty internet connection available to us here. That's the news everybody! She is happy, healthy, and now we are learning as much as we can about her birthplace. She is eating cereal now twice a day in between bottles. She is sitting up, but not crawling yet. She also does a really great copycat of her mom's faces that she makes at her. She has a strong grip and a very curious gaze. We can't wait for everyone to meet her! We hope to write more this week, but this will have to do for now.

Love,
Charles and Amy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1 More Day!

My sweet daughter,

This is so surreal! After all that has happened, we are finally going to get on a plane and I am going to kiss and hold you. My emotions are a little hard to control, I am trying to pack the rest of the items and get everything ready for us to leave, but I just want to sit and stare at you. I am trying to get me brain around the idea that we are going to hold you in a few short days. I am excited, nervous, anxious and yes...overwhelmed with emotion. I have prayed and worried for so long that I am having a hard time believing that we are at the threshold of a new life, a life with you in it. I have a picture of you in a frame that is shaped like a puzzle piece, I didn't realize the significance of the frame until today--you are the missing piece to my puzzle. You complete the picture. I want to come today, now, this minute, but in only a few short days, Mommy will be holding you and loving you and never letting you go, except I might let your Daddy hold you for a minute or two!!!

Ella, someday you can read all the happenings of this crazy journey and I hope at the end you will realize something, you have been our daughter since before you were born. Our love for you is so strong that we didn't need to grow you in my belly, you were born out of our love and the love of all of our friends and family. We live in a world that is full of hate and ignorance, but I hope that will change and the idea that we can travel half way around this world to get our child makes me feel hope. I want to show you my world and I hope that I can see it through your eyes. We will learn from one another and maybe we can make a difference for other people. I have so much love to give and I thank everyone who loved and supported us throughout this process. I have always felt a love for Africa, and can't wait to immerse myself into the culture and the people. I have a lot of gratitude and admiration for your birth country, the people of Ethiopia are allowing us to borrow you and raise you as our own, for that I will always be grateful. This will not be our only trip to Ethiopia, I plan on going back with you to show you the wonders of the place you were born and to try and give back to the people of Ethiopia.

My heart is full and my eyes are wet.

Mommy is coming little one and soon we will never be apart.

All of my love,

Mommy

Friday, August 21, 2009

The anxious nervous excited last week without child

Amy turns to me this week and says, "I need you to write about this, this feeling... right now... what it feels like." I wrote about when we were waiting - the anxious anticipation before court and the frustration that came from delays and bureaucracy. This week, the feeling is very different. This is now finally something that most parents can relate to - the holy crap this is actually gonna happen feeling! This might be closest to what it feels like when people get pregnant. This is the rush of all those fears of parenthood, the doubts of adequacy and preparedness, and the absolute terror that we will not be ready for what comes next. Until this point, we had worked to a goal. We were determined to get this process to completion. However, in the back of our minds, we both had doubts that it could happen. We both feared that the process would break down and leave us childless and broke. This sounds like a normal concern, but it was also an escape hatch. We didn't like to admit it, but there was a chance that it might not happen and maybe we didn't stop to believe that it was really... really happening.

I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I wanted to write it out and try to understand it. We haven't held back on this thing so far, why stop now? Now we are definitely going to be parents. As in, next week we will be responsible for a child. No longer do we just hop on the bikes and head around the block or jump in the car to go see a movie without some preparation. Life will become a bit more complicated. I might sound like I'm complaining, but unlike one of my friends at work told me this week, I don't think my life is over. I believe that this is worth it...so worth it! We will have complications and we will have joys. This is part of life that we have decided to live. That might be the hardest part for people to get, we decided. This didn't happen to us, we chose this journey. This next Wednesday, we get on a plane to parenthood, a little nervous and very excited.

-Charles

Sunday, August 9, 2009

17 days/travel arrangements

Dear Ella,
Mommy has an official countdown to Ella Day! We are leaving on August 26th and will arrive in Ethiopia on the 27th. I know it will be too late to get you on the 27th, but bright and early on the 28th--Mommy will be holding you and kissing your sweet cheeks! I am really trying to get ready, I have a lot to prepare. I have to pack for us and for you and I know it is chilly there. I cant wait to see you baby, Mommy and Daddy can hardly contain their excitement. Mommy is coming....soon!!!!
Love,
Mommy

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mommy is coming

Dear Ella,
Mommy is buying tickets to come and get you. Daddy and I will be there
before you know it. I know it has been a long road, but we are finally
seeing the end of this path and the start of a new one. I am filled
again with hope for the future, a future full of love and appreciation
for all that we have been given. Throughout this experience, I have
realized that I am very lucky. I am lucky to have the best husband,
who is also the best daddy, the most loyal and supportive family, and
friends that will stand by me no matter how crazy I am. I can't wait
for you to join our circle and you will be right in the middle.
Ella, mommy loves you more and more each day. Stay strong and I will
be there before you know it.
All my love,
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Pics!!! 6 months old







Pictures of Ella--Finally!!!







You are all mine!!!

Dear Ella,

You are legally ours !!! Mommy is coming to get you--no doubts about it! I cant wait to hold you and kiss your sweet face. Mommy and Daddy are coming!!!!



video

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

7 days till court

Dearest Ella,
Mommy decided to write again, I can't guarantee that it won't be sad
but I feel the need to write you. I cannot explain what I am feeling
right now. I am strangely at peace and feel your strength growing
inside me. I am surviving and doing what I can to be strong. I want so
desperately to come and get you that I avoid the airline pages for
fear I might buy a ticket on tomorrows flight. The days have been long
and the nights are even longer. I know that you are getting fat and
that makes me smile. You are everything to me and I am planning on
treasuring every second that we have together.
I hope that everyone that reads our blog comes away with the idea that time is a precious
thing and time with our children is a gift. Make sure that every
moment counts and experience all that you can with them. Spoil them rotten but teach them how to love and respect. I am not jealous of anyone and can say that everything "bad" in my life is a lesson and a gift. Each experience has given me a clue on how to live more freely and to love more deeply. If I had everything given to me I would never appreciate the time and effort each experience brings. Ella, you are the most precious experience I have ever had, you have already made me a better person a better friend and a better wife. You have taught me how to be strong and how to be vulnerable; to be able to ask for help and freely accept the help when it is offered. I am your Mother and I will work so hard to earn that title. I will make mistakes, but I will also learn from them. Life is not about what you do or where you live or what you own, it is about your relationships and your family. Through all of this mess I am developing a relationship with you that spans galaxies and will last throughout time. Nothing will keep me from loving you and nothing will keep us apart. On the day you were born, I loved you and will continue loving you forever. No matter what happens "good" or "bad" I will never stop loving you, my love for you cannot be broken and that gives me peace. I pray for the day we can hold you and kiss your toes, but until that day I will be content in knowing that our love is unbreakable.
I am lucky to have a fat, beautiful daughter named Ella.
All of my love,
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ella's First Concert

Before all this happened with the investigation of the adoption, we had some plans. There were things we thought we would be doing by now with her. One of the things that I thought we'd be doing was attending Ella's first concert last Saturday at the Cuban Club. That was the Avett Brothers show that I've been harping about and telling strangers about for months with the excited giddiness that I used to reserve for junior high.







This photo credit is for Nicole Kibert (elawgrrl)

Thanks for the amazing pics of our boys "singing in front of the moon." Check out the whole set at...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elawgrrl/3737189031/

Well, things don't always turn out like what you think, or "Life is what happens while you're making plans." to paraphrase John Lennon. So she's still over there. We're still here. And we went to the concert anyway. I'm glad Amy was excited to go and I think she really enjoyed it - until the whole ridiculous traffic jam while leaving thing. They played a lot of my favorites like "Shame" and "Distraction #74" They even played a new song that gets stuck in my head called "I and Love and You." Anyhow it was great, but these guys are bluegrass and punk and raw screaming emotion right in your face. I will not try to plan out Ella's first concert for a few more weeks now until we get past this last hurdle that is this illogical movable court date.

The Avetts in all their emotion finally got me during a song called "Gift for Melody Anne." I'll finish this little blog up with the lines...

"If I ever have a son, if I ever have a daughter,
I don't want to tell them that I didn't give my all."

I'd like to think they were telling us not to give up.
-Charles

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why the hurry?


-Charles here-
People at work ask all the time about whether we have news. Amy definitely avoids being at the shop to not hear that question. She has found some help there and multiple ways to stay busy, but we still get the question. So I say yes. Yes, we have news... and it is all bad. The only good news is that our daughter is fat. She is putting on weight. She might not be getting any exercise. She might never get out of her crib for more than a few minutes a day. She might be sitting up or babbling right now, but the only thing I hear is "Wait." My agency, whom I've paid to help me through this process, has no news of value. Everytime they tell me something, I question it. I should be able to trust them, but everyone knows I don't. How many times do they tell you it will happen before you say, "Maybe I'm crazy for believing it." So we get news that says we wait. There are no guarantees. There is no certainty that it will happen on this date. We no sooner marked our calendar that she would go to court on the 20th of July than we got an email (how impersonal!) that it was not that date anymore but actually the 5th of August.


People say, "You're not missing that much." or "She'll still be young, don't worry." But it's not that simple is it? If somebody came to your hospital bed after you gave birth and took your baby away and said "We'll be done checking her out tomorrow." and then came back every day and said the same thing for the first 8 months of her life, you would be losing your mind by now too!



Also, the thing I wish the Ethiopian government and all of those feet-dragging folks involved would think about is this: The infant mortality rate in Ethiopia is between 80 and 86 infants per 1000 live births each year. Based on the population numbers (82 Million people in Ethiopia) I could find, that means that 31,200 infants won't make it to their first birthday. So right now, my daughter takes up space in a bed in an orphanage and eats food that I could and want to give her. This is food that another child might survive on. She gets fat while outside of her building, other kids starve. This isn't the only thing about this situation that bothers me, but I'm hoping that it helps people understand what is at stake.


All we want to do is provide for her what every single child deserves, and all they do is tell us to wait.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Losing Faith

Dear Ella,
Mommy just got more bad news. Our court date of July 20 has now been pushed back two weeks to August 5--pushing our visa date back to September. I don't even have faith that that will work out. I don't know why but everything is working against us. I am numb to this now and I am losing faith that I will ever hold you. I am tired of disappointment and tired of all of this! I don't want to talk to anyone or see anyone because I see the way they look at me, like I am going to break, and they may be right. I want to come now and I would love to come and get you sooner than September, but we don't have the money and so I have to wait. I must have really done something horrible to deserve this torture and I am just not wanting to do this anymore. I will never stop wanting you and waiting for you and loving you more than anything, but I am done with the process. I just want it to be over, why is this so hard? I cant take it anymore. Why? I will not believe anything until it happens, so as far as I am concerned this court date doesn't exist. I will continue on with my horrible existence until someone tells me to get on a plane and come and get you, until then I am numb. I don't want anyone to ask me about you, the adoption, the court date...nothing. I am numb and silent from this point on. I won't put myself through this anymore and I just can't take the heart-break. I can't take the ups and downs, I can't look at your pictures or video or anything. I just want to act like it isn't happening for a while.
You are in my heart forever Ella, I just need a break from the process. Mommy will talk to you but no more letters, it is too hard!
All of my love,
Mommy

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New court date today?

Dear Ella,
We are supposed to get a new court date today, but I have heard that
one before and there are some new hang ups, what's new about that?
Mommy is tired and sad and I am not doing well. I am staying busy, but
my emotions are getting the better of me. I am again lost in emotions
and can't see through them anymore. My heart is numb and I am in a
hole of despair. Will I ever hold you? Is this all some cruel joke?
With everything that is happening I can see that I might have to fight
to see you and I am ready to fight. I just dont know who the enemy is.
Everyone says it is going to happen, but I am not so confident
anymore. Damn this whole thing. I want my life back. I want to be
happy again and experience joy. All I see is darkness and despair.

Pray little one, pray for your mommy. Pray that we get to see each
other soon. I need you.
All my love,
Mommy
Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Your Garden

Dear Ella,
Mommy and Daddy just got finished building and planting "Ella's Garden". We planted tomatoes and Peppers. We also landscaped the yard and planted all kinds of pretty flowers for you to pick and admire. We haven't stopped planning and fixing the house for your arrival. There have been several set-backs along this journey but the journey isn't over, it won't be over till we reach you. You have grown so big and strong and I am so proud of you little one, you are doing your part in all of this--growing big and staying healthy. Mommy can't wait to come and get you. I am planning to come as soon as I can. If I have to come early to be with you, I will. The tickets to Ethiopia have skyrocketed and I am going to do extra work, have garage sales, plan a benefit, whatever it takes to be able to hold you and rock you and tell you how much I love you. Oh and kiss you Ella, you better get ready for Mommy to kiss every piece of skin you have, over and over again. I keep repeating to myself, "you will never sink this ship" throw me whatever you got, because I am unsinkable! I wake in the morning crying and go to bed in the same fashion, but that doesn't mean I am weak, I am just sad that you are not here, but when push comes to shove, I am a rock that will never be broken. So keep getting bigger and learn as much as you can. You are going to see me soon, Mommy promises!!!
I love you more each day! Mommy and Daddy are coming to get you--count on that!
All of my love,
Mommy

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sinking the boat

Dear Ella,
I second what your daddy said! You will never sink this
boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mommy will swim If I have to but this boat isn't going down. So bring
on the misery because I will face it all to be with you.
Stay strong baby!!!!
Mommy
Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

You'll never sink this boat!

After a conference call that promised everything and nothing... After a storm that dropped an ant infested limb on our new little car and dented it and invited a colony to move in to it at the same time... After yet another day of no news... maybe tomorrow... We realized it had almost been two months since we were shut down for what appears to have nothing to do with us in our adoption. Our friends and family try to help, but they have lives and problems too. I thought back to Lieutenant Dan and that part in Forrest Gump where he climbs the mast and screams at the sky "You'll never sink this boat!" And even though it feels like somebody is trying to sink us - I am screaming the same thing from my roof!!!
"Is that all you've got?!!!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozV8orAZY8g

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Quick Prayer

Dear Ella,

I don't pray a lot, but today I am sending out quite a few and thought that if you pray with Mommy, God is more likely to listen. I have always felt that God listens to all but listens closely to the children because they are more likely to pray for something they need and not just something they desire.
Dear God,
Please help us find each other. We are a family that needs to be together. We have been waiting a long time and we need your help to bring us together. Please Lord, help this process go forward and help the courts decide to resolve this issue and bring us together quickly.
Amen
Ella, Mommy is still here. I know you must be getting anxious that I am not coming, but I am. I am here waiting for the green light to come and get you. You are the most important thing in the world to me and I won't rest until I get you in my arms.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed and pray.
Mommy loves you more than anything and I am coming to get you....I am coming.
All of my hugs and kisses are for you sweetie,
Mommy

P.S. No tears because Mommy has plenty for the both of us. Laugh and grow and play. That is all that I wish, be happy little one.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Do fingerprints expire?

So today we are in the USCIS waiting and I look over at Amy who is having her fingerprints taken. This is some nondescript office building wedged behind a car dealer in Brandon. Amy is wearing a long plain blue dress and the impatience is apparent on her face. Still, my mind wanders to a few months from now and she will be wearing that same dress in a very different place. She will be carrying Ella and weaving through the bustle of a crowded street in Addis Ababa. I don't understand why we are sitting here, waiting for new fingerprints. Do fingerprints expire? If they can place a person at the scene of a crime 20 years later from a dusty glass (at least they can on CSI), then how in the world am I sitting here in this stupid line waiting for more fingerprints! We actually had to request more fingerprints from Homeland Security because the one's we got last year aren't any good anymore! Please somebody help me understand that. Seriously. I have just found a way to cut the budget Mr. President and I'm starting with the expiration dates on fingerprints. We shouldn't even be here now. We were supposed to be back with her by now, but the Ethiopian government has managed to drag out what is already a ridiculously slow process. Thanks governments! I'll have to remember this feeling on July 4th when I celebrate how great it is to be free. Free to wait...
-Charles

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy 7 month Birthday Ella

Dear Ella,

Happy Birthday!
7 months today and I am going to celebrate this day by being happy,
happy that we have the best support system, happy that you are in the
world, and happy that I will one day hold you and kiss your sweet
cheeks. We have a lot to be happy about and your Nanan said that I
need to put some funny and happy stuff in my letters so that I won't
make everyone cry and want to join me in the looney bin! I am trying
to be positive and hopeful. I had a dream last night that kept
repeating. It was about you and me on the beach and you were building
sand castles in the sand. I was helping and watching you build it
bigger and bigger. Soon the castle was large enough to go inside. We
played together and each time I woke up and went back to sleep it was
the same scenario. I suppose you want me to keep building the hope and
adding to our dream because someday soon we will be playing together
in our real castle, our home. I am celebrating your life today and
will keep stepping forward towards my dream, we will be together
soon! You are the reason I am here and you are the child I was always
meant to have. I know what it means to be connected to your Mom, I am
connected to mine. I sometimes feel that the doctor forgot to cut the
cord, she is my best friend, my confidant and my lifeline. At times
when we have been apart, I could always feel her presence, she is a
part of me and when she hurts I hurt and vice versa. I feel that with
you and I want you to feel happy and that everything is going to be
okay. It is going to be okay, Mommy will make it so. There is nothing
in this world I wouldn't do for you. Happy day Ella and know that
mommy is coming to get you very soon. If you are afraid or feeling sad
just think of me, I am holding you and rocking you to sleep. Don't
fret little one, I am coming soon.
All of my love,
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Amy Smiles


For those of you that read this blog and think that Amy doesn't have any happy times anymore. I would like to submit this photo as proof. This blog is cathartic, and it allows her to dump her mind out for a few minutes. It's messy and depressing, but more than anything, it makes her feel better and more connected to Ella. This was taken in Mexico before my little brother Rory's wedding. She might have been distracted, and it was good to have something else to focus on that day besides the endless waiting. She looks great here, but here's the best part... Every once in a while, when the weight of the world is resting somewhere else besides her shoulders... Amy Smiles.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One of those days

Dear Ella,
Today your Aunt Brook said that it has been one of those days and I
couldn't agree more. I again waited and searched for news about the
abandonment cases in Ethiopia and once again we came up short. It is
amazing the games that you can play in your mind to cope. I think I
will get through this hour by doing work and I won't check my email or
the blogs for that hour. It works for an hour but then you have to
find another game to play for the next hour. I am tired of playing
games and I just want some resolution. I stare at your picture and try
to imagine what you are like. What are you doing now? Are you sitting
up and rolling over? You turn 7 months tomorrow and I missed another
month in your life. Today is hard, but tomorrow is going to be harder.
What time do you eat? What do you do if you need to be changed? What
happens when you are mad or sad? Do they hold you a lot? Dammit, I
want to know all of these things and I am missing it. I know I know,
all of this will be water under the bridge when I get you, but
still...all of those experiences are gone, lost and there is no record
of them. Not being able to have kids is hard and going through this
makes it harder. Why must life punish us, is it so we appreciate what
we have and why we get all that much more? I appreciate everything
that I have and would gladly give it up for my daughter. Just to hold
you and bathe you and feed you. The simple things are the things I
miss. There is no more time. I want you now and I need you now. I am
rambling on and I am not making sense. I miss you Ella and I my body
craves to cuddle you. Please God I am apologizing for all the bad
things I have said and done, just send me to Ella. Please, I am
begging you on my hands and knees.......save me from this, give her to
me and I won't ask for more. I will spoil her rotten and I won't
complain. I know she is my miracle and I will treat her as such for
the rest of my life. Send me to my baby.....please.
Crying must stop and I have to say goodnight. I have sent all of the
pieces of my heart to you Ella girl and I have none left. Hold them
tight and I will come and get you. Remember that mommy loves you so
much. I am coming.
Love,
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No new news....again

Dear Ella,
Today I heard a rumor that we aren't going to hear anything regarding
the court cases or how they are going to proceed until July 2. I hope
that is just a rumor, because your mommy is really tired of waiting. I
just want you home and in my arms. I have planned out all of these
wonderful things for us to do together. Your pictures and video keep
me going, but it is not enough. That isn't enough for me. I am now
faced with more time to fill and more questions about your where
abouts. I am thankful for all of the support, but I don't want to talk
anymore. At times, my heart wants me to curl into a ball and shut
down. I have never known about sadness like this. I continue to get
up everyday and to put on a happy face, but at times I feel that I
will never get through the day. I get up everyday living to hear good
news only to be faced with despair when I get the last email saying
that there is no new news. I just want to medicate myself and sleep
until I can wake up again with some new hope. This has been my
existance for the last 6 weeks and I am growing tired. I will never
give up the hope that I will come and get you, but I am tired.
Questions flood my mind and trouble my soul. I am lost.
You are my light and the thought of you gets me through my darkest
hours. I need you little one. Today I took your picture and drew a
likeness with pencil. I will do anything I can to feel closer to you
and hold on to my reality of us as a family. I am sorry that this is
so dark, but in a way this helps me to clear my thoughts. Putting down
my darkest ideas helps to cage them in a way. I learned long ago that
dark thoughts can be suppressed, but at some unknown time they will
rear their ugly heads and you will have to deal with them. I have to
deal with them now so that I can be whole and healthy when you come
home.
I hate to end my talks to you, but if I continue I am afraid all of my
family and friends will send a straight jacket and a padded cell will
be in my future.
I love you more than words can say and my heart is again in pieces
heading to you. Hold on to the truth that mommy is coming to get you.
I am coming soon. Never forget that you are the most loved baby girl
in the universe.
All of my love,
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

New measurements

I am not supposed to give out exact details about Ella so I am going
to share some dimensions on a table I am expecting.
The table is normal size for American standards now. It is 24" high
and weighs almost 16 lbs. That is the normal size for a table. They
must be oiling and waxing that table a lot!!!! I can't wait to put
that table in my house, it is going to look perfect where I made room
for it!!

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Same sh__ different day

Dear Ella,
Mommy was expecting to hear some good news again today, buy nope. Once
again we have been let down. I am getting used to this and that makes
me want to scream! You turn 7 months this week and we are getting an
update on your height and weight. I can't wait to find out how much
you have grown. Be healthy baby, but don't grow too much. Mommy wants
to see you grow and experience your spurts first hand, not via email.
I can't wait to see you and hold you for the first time. I play that
scenario in my mind over and over again.
I love and miss you and hope to report good news tomorrow.
All my love little one.
Mommy

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dear Ella,
I want to tell you about your Grandpa. It is Fathers Day here and I
need to wish your Grandpa a happpy day. I thought that I would share
some things that he has done so you get to know what a great person he
is.
My dad is the best man I know. He has always made me feel like I am
important, not only to him but in the world. What I do and how I act
towards people has an impact. He taught me that I am no better than
anyone and that no one is above or below me. We need to treat everyone
with respect. He used to be a cop and bums that he would arrest or
question would thank him for treating them with respect. Just because
someone may be in a bad place or do something bad doesn't mean that
they are a bad person. That lesson travels with me every day of my
life and I try my hardest to treat everyone with respect and dignity.
His love for his family is his top priority. He would do anything for
us and would bend over backwards to make us happy.
A couple of Christmases ago I was really upset because I was trying to
save enough money to get you. There was a big blowout and I went home.
On christmas day you Eepaw came to our house with coffee and a gift.
The gift was the money to have you. He saw that I wanted and needed
you more than anything in the world and he couldn't see me in pain.
That gift may knock some time off their retirement, but he saw me in
need and he helped. That was the best gift I will ever get in my
life--you.
I will never be able to repay that generosity, but I will try and pay
it forward. I love my Dad more than I can say in words. I will try and
make your childhood as magical as he made mine. You are a lucky girl
like your Mommy, you get my dad as your Eepaw. He is a little shy, but
you will be privy to those few moments when he opens up his heart and
the warmth and love that envelopes you will stay with you forever and
you will know that you are never alone.
Happy fathers day dad!
Love, Amy and Ella

Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ella,
Hi sweet baby. Mommy is doing better today thanks to her great friends
and family that give so much support. The true hero though is your
Daddy. Tomorrow is Fathers Day here and I want to thank your daddy for
all of the support he gives to your mommy. You are a really lucky girl
to have such a great person to call your father. He works his but off
to give financial support and then comes home to your depressed and
crazy mom. He is one of a kind and I love him so much. He keeps all of
his emotions in check because he doesn't want to upset me, but he
can't wait to be with you. He gets tears in his eyes when we talk
about you and he plans things fir you. He us so talented at writing
and designing and building. I know that he will teach you so many
things.
Happy Father's Day Charles! Ella, Baci and I live you and appreciate
all that you do for us!


Sent from my iPhone
Amy Haynie
Tampa Street Market
www.tampastreetmarket.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

No news today

We were told this week that we would be informed about what was going to happen with our court dates today, but unfortunately we heard that there was no news given. Although I was "cautiously optimistic", I am crushed! How am I supposed to go another weekend without news and maybe no news next week? How is this possible, this roller coaster of emotions--high to low! I am angry and sad and confused and jealous and frustrated and depressed. I am no good to anyone right now, poor Charles for having to put up with my neurotic ass! I want to be sane and happy, but it isn't that easy. I envy those people that can just sweep those emotions under the rug and deal with them later, I am not that person. My emotions are out there for everyone to see, and if one more person asks me about Ella--I am going to Scream! And if I hear, "just wait till you get her, you think that you are crazy now", but I will have her! My head is pounding, my heart is breaking and I want to throw something. Someone please make it stop! Stop telling us that we are going to hear something and we wait for days, on pins and needles and then nothing--do you know how hard that is? Frustration--is not even close to what I feel. Sadness--please, my heart is in my throat every second of the day, I wake up crying and go to sleep crying. I have waited for my baby for over 2 years and now she is growing up in a crib all alone in Ethiopia, where is the sense in that. And please don't tell me that Jesus and God will help--I am tired of using that crutch that seems to break every time I lean on it. I am sorry that I am venting, but I am tired and hurting and I want so badly to not be. I need drugs, sedation, something. Get me out of this hell!

Blessings

Dear Ella,

Mommy just got new pics of you and a video! You are growing so fast and gaining weight and I couldn't be happier. Today is the big day, I am trying not to get my hopes up, but we are supposed to hear about how the courts are going to proceed with the abandoned cases. Keep your little fingers and toes crossed all day!

The new pictures are bittersweet. On one hand, I am thrilled to see you and how much you have grown and on the other hand, I am so sad that I can't be there to hold you and kiss every inch of you. I don't know how long now, but I have a glimmer of hope that it won't be too long. I have watched the video over and over just so I can feel close to you. I told your Daddy today that when I see you I see him, there is no longer just the two of us, you are a part of us. You belong to us and we belong to you. I know that you can feel that. I think you are just waiting for us to come and get you. I think that once I get you I will never let you go, so lets get a few things straight: you cant go to school unless I can be there, you can't date unless you don't mind if I am with you, marriage will be hard because your husband or wife (whichever you prefer) will have to let me move in, I am being really serious. I feel like I have lost so much time with you that I am going to have a hard time letting you out of my sight.
Mommy's world starts and stops with you Ella. My life paused when I found out about you and the rest of my life is planned with you in it, so I will press play again when I get you in my arms. You will never be without love for as long as I live, you will be the most loved child in the world. I hate to write these letters because the only time I am at peace with the world is when I am writing you. When I end this letter, I will feel that emptiness again.
I love you baby and I am coming to get you soon. Remember that you are the most loved baby in the universe and Mommy and Daddy are coming, we are coming, we are coming.
All of my love,
Your Mommy

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Little Hope

Dear Ella,
Hi baby girl, Mommy is in Mexico for Uncle Rory´s wedding. I just looked at my email for the first time in a few days and there is a light of hope! It is only a rumor and I cant say much, but it looks really good. That is really good news and I need it because today was not a good day for Mommy. I woke up crying and havent stopped all day. I miss you little one and every day I sink a little deeper, but todays rumor has helped me see some light. Depression is a hard thing to deal with and I was starting to lose. I need you and I love you so much that it hurts--it really hurts. I dont want to plan my days without you and I want to hold you. My arms ache and my heart hurts. Your Eepaw says that depression is a hole that pulls you under and you have to fight to get out, I am fighting really hard and you are the light that I fight to see. No words can describe the feelings that I have, pain doesnt even come close. I want everyone to think that I am ok, maybe so I feel that I am ok. I just want you to come home to your Daddy and I. I stayed home from the festivities today, I just couldnt take it. I love this family, but I just needed some time to myself. I let your Daddy go on without me, I cried for hours. I didnt want to bring everyone down on such a happy occasion. I want so bad to feel better, but I can only supress these emotions for so long before they come up and choke me. Why? This is not something I can answer, I can only hope and pray and cope. Cope. Cope. Keep saying it and it will be real. I am also still having a hard time with the death of your Great Grandpa. I miss him and Grandma very much and I really wanted you to be able to meet them. All I can say is that you have 2 more angels watching over you. I know that they are there and they love you and Mommy very much. I will end this as I do with all of my letters and tell you that you are the most loved baby in the universe and that Mommy and Daddy are coming. Dont give up the hope that we love you more than we love anything. We are coming...Mommy is coming.
All of my love,
Mommy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life don't clickety clack...

Ella,
This last week there was a funeral for a great-grandfather you will never know. You will see the pictures and hear the stories and that is all we get sometimes. Things change all the time. The lyric in my head this week is "Life don't clickety clack down a straight line track, it comes together and it comes apart." It goes over and over in my head in a sad folksinger's voice. This weekend you will miss my youngest brother's wedding. We kind of figured you would miss this one though, because you need a passport to get to Mexico these days. I know that you will get to know him soon and his new wife. So after a very full month, while we wait for you to come home, you have lost a great grandfather but gained an aunt. I am sure by the end of this weekend we will well know all of our new in-laws and we will have many more stories to tell you. I long to tell you stories of all your uncles and how they will change your life in small ways. Hang in there little one, I have to be strong for mommy right now and so do you. I know that you have already been through so much, but soon you will lay with us on the rug and your laughs will heal all this trouble. We will sing songs and dance for you this weekend. Travelling with us is another thing that you should look forward to. You will be born into a family with walking shoes.
See you soon,
Daddy

No Air

Dear Ella,
Hi my sweet baby. Mommy misses you so much. Every day gets harder, the questions in my head get harder to quell. I don't know how to do this. I am trying to be strong for your Dad and for you, but you dominate my thoughts. This empty house starts to close in around me. You should be here in my arms, I should be feeding you your morning bottle and instead I am alone with no idea when you are coming home. I hear babies crying and it kills me. How am I supposed to do this? How do I keep going? I don't want to keep playing like I am ok--I'm not! I hate this--I pray that God will do something, but my faith is failing once again. Maybe that is the problem, I am being punished for all the things I have done in my life and for not believing like I should. I have countless thank you cards to write for all of the beautiful things that people got you, but each time I try I sob uncontrollably. Maybe I am not cut out for this, maybe I can't handle it. Other people seem to go on and they are ok--I am a mess. I just want some word, some hope. Please God, I am praying, please please please help bring Ella home--I need her, I can't breathe without her.
Ella--help Mommy pray--I know you can hear me. Pray that this is settled and we can go to court soon. Mommy will see you soon, I am coming for you. You are the first thing Mommy thinks about when I wake up and the last thing I see when I fall asleep. Be a good baby, you are the most loved baby in the universe and we are coming to get you soon. Mommy loves you.
Mom

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I need you at the dimming of the day.

Dear Ella,
I am so sorry that I have not written anything recently, I have been a little down. Your Great Grandpa Flynn died on Saturday and Mommy is having a hard time dealing with both things. This week is particularly hard for me because this is the week I was supposed to meet you. For 4 months, I rehearsed the meeting in my head. Your Dad and I would come to the HOH on Monday--your 6 month birthday. They would bring you to us and hand you over, I would cry and so would your Dad. I can't get over the idea that I am supposed to be holding you right now, I feel I am being robbed. There is an emptiness inside of me. I wanted to be singing to you and rocking you to sleep, making you feel secure. Now your Daddy has to do that for me, Mommy is not strong without you. I need you baby, I need you to pray that this works out soon and that you get to come home to Mommy and Daddy. We miss you so much and we need you. I am mourning the loss of time, I will never hold you when you are 5 months, or 6 months. I will never know when you sat up for the first time or rolled over. I won't see your first smiles or your tantrums--I want that and I am sad and angry all at the same time.
I wanted to tell you a little about your Great Grandpa Flynn, he was a good man that made your Mommy feel very special. He took your Aunt Michelle and I on trips to Lake Cumberland and taught us to fish and water ski. We played cards and games and read Dr Seuss. As we got older, Grandpa kept records, he always video taped the experience, from my dance recitals to passing Triny dog over the table as we played cards and ate animal crackers. He owned a grocery store and made us feel very special, he gave me whatever I wanted and made sure we had what we needed. I will miss him but I also know that he will watch over you. Your guardian angels are plentiful!
I am closing this with the words from the song I will sing to you.
This old house if falling down around my ears I'm drowning in the river of my tears. You pull me like the moon pulls on the tides. What days have come that keep us far apart, a broken promise or a broken heart. I am living for the night we steal away. I need you at the dimming of the day. I need you at the dimming of the day.
Remember that you are loved more than any other baby in the universe. Your Daddy and I are coming to get you and hold you and love you. Don't lose hope, Mommy is coming! Mommy is coming! Mommy is coming!
All my love and wishes for sweet dreams,
Mommy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maybe it should be this hard for everyone

Dear Ella,
This week has been such a roller coaster for your Mommy and Daddy. We had high hopes that we would hear something about your case, but we haven't . We had a conference call with CHI and the other families in the program, it was nice to hear from others in the same situation, but still no word on when or if your case will be heard. I am trying to look forward to things like going away for the weekend. Your Dad and I are going to meet the Cincinnati crew in Charleston for the weekend. It should be fun, but I am having a hard time relaxing these days. I worry that if this thing takes too long they might try and send you from the HOH back to the orphanage where they don't have adequate formula and food supplies--that keeps me up at night. We do not have any time references and that makes it impossible to plan anything. I don't think that people really understand how hard this situation is. We have fallen in love with you, it didn't take long. I remember getting home from NYC and seeing your small little face and malnourished frame on the computer screen and thinking--that is my daughter, that is my little girl, that is my future. My brain immediately reset my life and put you in it. Everything I want to do or that Daddy and I plan on doing--you are there. Every situation and decision we are faced with, we are making the best choice for you. When we thought that you would become ours, we were overwhelmed with emotion. When we found out that you might not become ours, we were overwhelmed with the opposite emotion. Those highs and lows are difficult to deal with. I am mourning a child I may never hold and at the same time I am told to hope that we will hold you. It is hard to deal one way or the other so we are left in a zombie state--not wanting to get hopeful because we are afraid of what happens when we get disappointed. I have never felt hurt like this before. The hurt of loving a child that you can't talk to, see, or touch is hard. The hurt of waiting to hold and hug and kiss your child for months is hard. The hurt of waiting for months only to be told it may never happen is unbearable. I want this all to be over and be holding you in my arms, I may never give you up. I think of the lullaby in my head, how long do you want to be loved..is forever enough cause I am never ever giving you up. It repeats over and over and I think 0f you in my arms. Maybe it should be this hard for everyone to get a baby, only the true parents who would sacrifice it all would be left standing. I will never take your life for granted, you will always be the greatest gift that I ever receive. If everyone went through what we are, I bet there wouldn't be babies left alone or thrown from car windows.
Ella, Mommy is staying strong for you. Mommy's only true concern is you--I will fight for you and I will never give up. If they tell me you cannot come here, I will go there. I will somehow make sure that you are not hungry or cold and you will never be alone. There is nothing in my world that is more important than you--you are the most loved child in the universe and we are coming to get you. Sleep well and grow strong because we have great adventures planned for you. Hold tight to the pieces of Mommy's heart because I am coming to get them soon.
All of my love,
Mommy

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frustration!

Dear Ella,
Every day that I spend without you is a lesson in patience. I am not good at waiting and I can't help but get upset that we are not getting updates from our agency. I also get jealous of the others who pass court and are heading over to get their children. I am truly happy for them, but I am also heart broken that I can't come get you. You are the light at the end of the tunnel, a light that I look towards every day. I am trying to live and I am trying not to break down, I am trying to control my emotions, no highs or lows. I can't live like this for very long.
I wish that I could just see you, I wish that someone would give me some information, I am drowning. I am numb, again. I just want answers and I need to start living again. Help.
I do pray, believe it or not. I need strength, I am weak right now and feel like crying all the time--I am just so mad! This is so unfair and I want something to give. I want to come get you now! Why is this happening? Please, please, please give me my daughter!!!!

I am sorry that I am so upset today, but I am here waiting for the green light to come and get you. Remember that I am coming and you are the most loved girl in the universe.

All of my love,
Mommy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Never give up!

Dear Ella,
You are so far away and my arms ache for you. I cannot wait to come and get you. I can't write much today because I am a little sad and I seem to want to cry a lot. Just remember that you are the most loved girl in the Universe! Mommy and Daddy are coming to get you. We will never give up on you, we are coming!
I love you more each day,
Mommy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Power of Music

Ella,
Today's letter is from your dad. I don't know what all you will get from me, I hope for sure that you will get some dry humor and a love of books. I do know one thing you will get and that is the love of music. I took your mom to a concert last night that is one of my favorite events of the year - Tropical Heatwave from WMNF the best radio station ever! I look forward to it for months and plan my time to see each band I want to see meticulously. Last night though, one band played for you. A young band from Uganda (Kinobe and Soul Beat Africa) played the most amazing music on strange and beautiful handmade instruments. They captivated the audience including your mommy and me and took us far far from here to the continent that you sleep on. I hope that when they travel home they will carry a song to you and it will help you rest. Those songs are in my head with your adorable face. Those large eyes of yours we saw in the girls at the Ethiopian restaurant's booth that we ate at last night. Everything reminds us of you. I can't wait to take you to concerts and play songs for you like I do for your mommy. That will be my gift for you as it has been from my family to me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Love

My Sweet Ella,

I have been writing you these letters for a week now and we have quite a few of our friends and family following along. I wanted to tell you just how blessed we truly are. When it comes to friends, your Mommy has been very lucky. I have the best friends anyone could ever have. Your Nanan has always said that I am so lucky to have your Aunt Michelle--to whom I would fall apart without--but that I was really lucky to have friends that will be with me throughout my life. I know that this is true and that is one thing that I can pass down to you. You will not only come into a large family that loves and cares for you, but you will also inherit my friends. These people will care for you and love you like you are their own. There is a very strange and wonderful thing about true friends, it doesn't happen very often but when it does you must embrace it, cherish it and feed it. It is not easy, you have to work on it, but if you work hard and sacrifice you will be rewarded. There is an unconditional love that comes with certain friends, this type of love is precious. Your Mommy and Daddy have this love for you, but most people go through life never knowing what it feels like to love this way or to be loved in this way. Loving in this way means that you can never stop, never question and never reject the other persons love. I have that with my friends and I know you will too.

More love to flow in between us, to take us and hold us, let us save up, if there is ever an answer... its more love.

I will be singing this to you when you are falling asleep tonight, remember that you are the most loved baby in the Universe and don't forget, we are coming, we are coming, we are coming, Mommy and Daddy are coming!!

All of my love,
Your Mom

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Maya Angelou is my favorite--Thanks Mom!


"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”
~Maya Angelou


In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70 birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was 'exciting.' Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day...like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such an honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words! Maya Angelou said this:
"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. "I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.
"I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'
"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. "I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. "I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
P please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

Thank You

To all of you that read and comment and follow the blog, Thank You. You have no idea what it means to us to know that someone is listening. To know that you have some insight into our journey and our struggles. I am sorry that my letters to Ella are a little sad, but somehow they make me feel stronger and connected. I cherish the 20 minutes it takes me to write to her, I can see her in my head and I feel that she can hear me. Please don't give up on us, your support and comments make it better, like we are not alone. It won't always be sad!

Love,
Amy
Thu 5/14/09
Dear Ella,
Last night I had to call the airlines and cancel my tickets to Ethiopia, my ticket to come and get you. That was really hard to do. I think your Daddy is a little relieved though, because now I can't just get on a flight and go. I just want to see you and hold you and kiss your fingers and toes. I think that you must be getting bigger, I wonder if you can sit up yet. I yearn for the sound of your cries. Yesterday, I was out shopping at Publix and a baby was crying the whole time. I just wanted to pick her/him up. I cried at Publix.
There was an update yesterday from our agency. They said that it looks like we will hear something sometime next week. I hope so, I don't think that I can last much longer. Mommy is going to have to go and see a Doctor if I can't come and get you soon, all of this stress is giving me a pain in the belly--ulcer pain.
I wish I could see what you are doing right now, I can tell you what I would be doing if you were here. We would be on the carpet with your favorite toys. I would be reading books and playing peek-a-boo. You would be laughing. I see that each time I pass the rug, the big, soft wool rug that Daddy and I bought to play with you on. Please come home soon. Mommy is getting desperate. Stay strong, stay strong, stay strong.
Sweet dreams Ellie Belly, you are the most loved baby in the universe! Mommy and Daddy love you and are coming to get you soon.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roots and Rhythms Remain

Dear Ella,

It is the 6th day since we found out that our court hearing would be postponed indefinitely. I am glad that you are too young to understand that word, because it is not a nice one in the adoption world. Mommy is holding on to whatever I can to stay strong for you. Yesterday was a better day than today, today the tears began flowing again, I don't understand tears.

A story for you:

There once was a very independent and slightly militant girl named Amy. Amy worked and went to school, she went out with her friends on occasion, but was content to be by herself. One day long ago, she and a few friends went to a Halloween festival in Ybor. It was a crazy parade and party, something Amy really didn't like, but for some reason she felt as though she needed to be there. After a few hours, she was standing alone when a man came up to her and asked if she would run away with him. Amy liked this man and immediately pulled out her passport and asked where to? The man's name was Charles and although they didn't run away together that night, because you need to get a police report and have all men supply a urine and blood sample for analysis first before you agree to date them, it was the beginning of many great adventures together. Amy and Charles were inseparable, they only felt good when they were together. Amy realized that being alone and independent were good, but when true love comes around you need to jump on board. Amy found it easy to tell Charles all of the things she kept inside and she was happy. After a few years of marriage, Amy told Charles that she had a dream. It was a dream of Africa and children. Amy had this dream many times and realized that she must go there and Charles agreed. They knew that Ethiopia was the place and after almost 2 years of waiting, they were given a picture of their daughter. They knew right away that she was theirs. It was once again true love and the couple jumped on board. They named their daughter Ella and they loved her from a distance for many months. To be continued....
That is where the story ends for now, with them loving Ella unconditionally and from afar.
Ella, I wish I could be there to tell you this story myself, but it will come to you as you sleep. May it bring you security and happy dreams to know that you are ours and we are yours.
"after the dreams of falling and calling your name out, these are the roots and the rhythms, and the roots and the rhythms remain" ..Mommy's favorite song that she dreams about, Under African Skies. Hear it and know that you are the most loved child in the universe.
All my love, Mommy

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Forever Enough?

My Sweet Ella,

Because there is a stall in the process, I believe that it must be for a reason. Your Daddy says that everything happens for a reason, the only reason I can think of is to prepare us for loss. Most people don't understand the loss you feel at your young age, but you have lost a great deal. You lost your Mother, first nannies, and soon the nannies at your transition home. I am so sorry Ella. Mommy had not lost that much until now, although I still have you, the courts are threatening to take you away. Mommy lost the security of having you come home and I am mourning that security, it was the idea that kept me strong. I got a glimpse of what it must feel like to lose the most important thing in your life and I wish that Mommy could come and scoop you up and hold you until that sadness goes away forever. I want to hold you and sing to you and feed you and make you feel secure. I will rock you to sleep and stay by your side in case you wake. I won't leave you, I will never leave you. Not now, not ever.
"How long do you wanna be loved, is forever enough, cause I'm never ever giving you up"
I will be singing this song as I send another piece of my heart to you. Listen close and hold tight to those pieces, always remembering that you are loved more than any other child in the universe and we are coming, we are coming, we are coming.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Paddling in the wind

Saturday my mom offered to watch the shop for us. (That was huge by the way!) Not only have we not had a Saturday off in months, but we were able to spend some time together when we needed it most. We had hoped to go kayaking the week before, but this couldn't have been a better way to relax. We cajoled a couple of our friends into going with us and headed out to Weedon Island Preserve on the St. Pete side of the Gandy Bridge. The loop was a 4.5 mile haul through beautiful clear waters and shaded mangrove tunnels. We headed out in the warm part of the morning, but there was a slight breeze that kept it cool. Our thoughts were definitely on Ella and all of the ups and downs of this process. Kayaking is enough work that we were able to get some of our frustrations out and really burn through some of the craziness. The day was relaxing and fantastic but as we headed past the last marker and went for the final stretch, the wind started to really push against us. The soreness and tired muscles were starting to catch up with us and Amy was pushing hard to get back. She left me behind by a good ways and I overtook a kayak with two women in it. They asked if that was my friend that was pushing through. I said yes, "She doesn't give up." Their reply - "That's an excellent quality!" I couldn't agree more, and this week I have to keep reminding her of that fact. She won't though- whether she believes it or not.
- Charles

Mothers Day 2009

Dear Ella,

Yesterday was Mother's Day and your Dad and I spent all day visiting your Grandparents. We went sailing with your Nanan and Eepaw in the early part of the day and spent the afternoon and evening with Nana and Aunt Dedra and Uncle Luke in Orlando. Overall, it was a really nice day but a minute didn't go by that I wasn't thinking of you.
When we found out about you, my heart broke into pieces, some were so small they were carried by the wind for thousands of miles, over oceans and seas, over mountains and valleys, all the way to a tiny orphanage in Addis Ababa and they landed directly in your arms. Mommy cannot live with this broken heart for very long, so you know that I must come and get you so that you can fix my heart, because you are the only one who can. Until the day that we come and get you, you must know that Daddy and I love you and miss you. I pray every night that you are happy and they are taking good care of you. I pray that you feel safe and secure and know that no matter what happens, you are my daughter. There might be a chance that the courts don't allow us to come and get you for a long time, but you must never forget or begin to doubt that you belong to someone. You are wanted and needed and loved more than any other child in the universe. If I could, I would move heaven and earth to come and get you, but it is just not that easy. I have your room ready and everything you need to come home. You have soft beds, plush toys, silky blankets and lots of love waiting on you here. We are here, your family, and I can't wait for you to meet everyone.
Mommy has to end this letter, but I will write one each day that I am away from you. When you grow up, you will know how much we love you and how much it hurt to be away from you.
"she gives me love, love, love, love, crazy love"
You will hear that as you sleep, over and over again, I am sending it with another piece of my heart, stay strong little one and keep growing big and healthy.
Love, Mommy

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A letter to Ella

To my daughter Ella,

I want to introduce myself to you. I am your Mother. You have not met me, but I wanted you to know a few things. There are some problems with the court system in the place where you are and that is why it is taking me so long to get to you. I know that you are getting anxious and know that we are too. I know you are too young to understand this, but someday I hope that I can read this to you or you will happen to find it.
I want you to know that on January 26, 2009 we found out about you. That was the day my life changed. I never knew that I could love someone I had never seen, touched or heard, but I did. You took my heart at that minute and have held it ever since. It has been 103 days since and you were supposed to be in my arms in 16 days, but unfortunately it doesn't look like that is going to happen. I am sorry sweet baby, but you have to stay strong. Mommy is coming. It might take me a few more weeks, or maybe months to get to you, but I am coming. Don't lose hope. There may be thousands of miles between us, but that cannot alter my feelings. You are my baby and I love you more than anything in the world. Stay strong and always remember that you are loved and Mommy is coming to get you.

All of my love,
Your Mom

Sleep

"Get some sleep"..."Get your rest now"...."No more sleeping in"....If only that was possible. I can't sleep, I wish that I could, but it just won't come. I fall asleep, but hours later I am wide awake. I have bad dreams, the kind like when you were a kid. Last night I dreamt that I was in this deserted house and I kept screaming for my Mom, I couldn't find my way out. I awoke at 2 and again at 3:30 and again at 4:30, I stayed awake. Hope, I am losing it. I planned our lives with Ella and now I can't think of anything hopeful, I have nothing to look forward to. I know there is a chance that the courts will do something soon, but there is also the chance that they won't. I am afraid to get my hopes up again. I just keep asking, "why us"?
I will put on a brave face and tackle my life again, but it won't make sense, not until Ella comes home.

What is going on

I just wanted to update all of you on what is going on with Ella and the adoption. Charles and I got some very sad news today, our adoption is getting put on hold. There was corrupt things going on in Addis Ababa with a certain agency and a certain police officer. All of which has affected us, they have decided not to hear any case involving abandoned children in Addis Ababa--Ella was abandoned. This is a big blow for us and I have cried non stop ever since we heard the news. We don't know if this issue will be taken care of next week, next month or next year. All of your thoughts, hopes, prayers and intentions are needed and appreciated. This is the hardest time of our lives. I hope that you understand if I don't respond to all of the emails, but know that I am reading them and I appreciate every comment. I will stop crying and we haven't given up hope that we will bring Ella home. Again, I am not a really religious person, but I would appreciate any prayer that will help to bring my daughter home.
Thanks Again,
Amy and Charles

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sad Day!!

Cant believe it, but we did not pass court today, we weren't seen. I have no idea what is going on because they are making us wait till the conference call at 2:00. Cruel and unusual punishment. Sorry, I know you all were expecting pics--us too!

The Waiting Game

Charles again -

I'm reading the emails, and waiting. Just watching for a sign. It kind of feels like staring down a long road and watching for the car. But this is THE CAR. The car that carries someone special. Everytime a car approaches, you get excited. You strain to see it. Everybody waiting with you thinks this is their car. Then it gets closer, and then as it doesn't slow, everybody exhales. It passes by and nervous glances are shared. We are all waiting for that call. The call that says they passed court, or maybe that they didn't. If they don't call then we will know that they jumped another hurdle. This waiting though, it's crazy! We sit and wait and wonder. This is one of those moments, and I want to record it. That butterflies in the stomach moment when you ask, is this going to happen or not? We have just enough information to be totally frustrated. If we get an email before 2:00 then it's not good. If we don't then we will stare at this screen for the next two hours and try to not go crazy! I wish my family could understand what this is like! I wish I could share just a little of this anxiety. Hopefully they will see it in the words I write. A few more hours and I will either be posting photos of our daughter or looking at later flights. Two weeks doesn't seem like a long time, but these two coming up... these seem way too long.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1 Day Till Court

Hey Everyone, we have 1 day until court!! I cannot believe that we have waited 102 days, well yes I can because they have been the longest days of my life! Tomorrow we will find out if we passed on the first try. There are a lot of people who don't, so I will let you all know as soon as I do. We do have a conference call with the adoption agency at 2:00 pm EST. This is with the agency reps, 14 families that have court tomorrow and the in country representative. I am sure that it will be a very interesting conversation.

My one wish on the last day before court is that everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2 Days Till Court!

I was watching the news last night, I know big mistake, and there was an awful story about a man throwing a 3 month old baby out of a speeding car window. The baby died and the man trivialized it saying it's a "rough game." I was really upset thinking about it.
I began to think about what we adopting parents go through, as well as those people who cannot have kids. We try and we save and we wait and wait, we get mad and depressed and lose our minds, but each day that we wait and each dollar that we save makes us more aware of how precious and rare this is. Not that we wouldn't appreciate our children anyway, but we do a little more. How lucky our children are to come into a world where they are wanted, really wanted, but even more than that we think of ourselves as the lucky ones. Ella is a blessing in my life, even now that I don't have her in my arms. She is loved and she makes me a better person. I am more aware of my surroundings, more conscience of others, more willing to make changes to better our lives. I am not so religious, but I do feel like she is a gift from God. She is my little miracle and I would wait 10 years if I had to to be a part of her life.
So really, the waiting is unbelievably hard, I mean cry every day hard, but those things that do not kill me make me a stronger Mom.

2 thoughts for the 2 days till court:
  1. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Gandhi
  2. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela