Friday, November 13, 2009

Ok, so it's taken me two months but here they are! Pictures of our little love. My only excuse is that I'm having so much fun with her that I can't pull myself away long enough to blog. Ok, so it's a little bit of a stretch but I'm sticking with it! Here are some recent pictures of Kaiyin. Isn't she so yummy?! She has the best personality and is happy and smiley. She's eating really well and gained 3 pounds in the first month we had her home! She's sitting up all on her own now and talks away in her own baby language. We love to see her smile and hear her laugh. Everytime she giggles it makes me laugh. Ok, I'll stop gushing now. I just had to share her with everyone. I'll try to be better about blogging going forward. I promise. Until then, please enjoy some pictures of our little Kaiyin.

Helping Daddy open some birthday presents.

She loves to be outside so she loved Radnor Lake.

She was a ladybug for her first Halloween.

At the pumpkin patch.

Bath time. She LOVES baths.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome home Kaiyin... the video!

Thanks to Kaiyin's Uncle Jeff for putting together this video for us. It gives you a glimpse into our journey and as you can see we had a homecoming that was like something out of a dream. It was amazing!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

We're Traveling!

As I sit here, we are 4 days away from traveling to Ethiopia to bring Kaiyin home! It's so exciting and just totally surreal. We have spent the past few weeks making lists, packing, nesting, and frequenting Target. I think we're ready! As ready as anyone can be anyway. The items in the picture are just part of the things we packed in the 4 suitcases we're taking with us! It's crazy! Several people have asked about our travel itinerary so I'm going to post it. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel. We would just love to have a safe and healthy trip so that we can really enjoy our first few days with our little girl. This will probably be my last post before I have a baby in the house! I can't wait to tell you all about her!

  • Friday, April 28th- Depart Nashville at 2:17pm, arrive at JFK Airport in New York at 6:15pm.

  • Depart JFK at 11:00pm for Dubai. Arrive in Dubai at 7:45pm on Saturday, April 29th. Spend the night in Dubai.

  • Depart Dubai at 8:25am on Sunday, April 30th. Arrive into Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 11:30am on Sunday, the 30th.

  • Depart Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 7:35pm on Friday, September 4th. Arrive in Dubai at 12:45am.

  • Depart Dubai at 2:00am. Arrive into JFK Airport at 7:45am on Saturday, September 5th.

  • Depart JFK on Delta flight #6489 at 3:25pm. Arrive in Nashville at 5:10pm on September 5th. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Introducing Kaiyin Mariam Meseret Burke!!! It's official!

We got the call today! We passed court and this precious baby is officially our little girl! We are still in shock but just so overjoyed. It looks like we will be traveling to Ethiopia around the 27th of August to go pick her up! That's only 16 days away! We're so excited we can hardly stand it! Isn't she just beautiful?! After all these years, all the ups and downs, it all worked out exactly the way it was supposed to in the end. I wouldn't change a minute of it because it led us to Kaiyin. Thanks to everyone who has been praying and sending us love and good thoughts. It's been so awesome to share this journey with you and it's really just beginning. I'll update the blog when we have firm travel dates. Love you all!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on Kaiyin

Last week we received our monthly update on Kaiyin. Every month they give us a few more pictures of her, answer some questions that we have asked, and give us updated measurements and developmental information. I soooo wish I could post the pictures we just received of her! She is so precious! I could just suck her little cheeks off! I promise to post them as soon as we pass court so that you guys can put a face to the name. She is doing great! We're told she was healthy all month. She has gained 3 pounds and now weighs 11 pounds. She's also grown in length by over an inch. She's officially going to be taller than me when she's 5. :) She's eating well, trying to hold her head up when she's on her belly, and smiles when the nannies make funny noises for her. There's nothing better than knowing that she is healthy and happy and based on the pictures and information we received, it sounds like both of those things are true.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Has Three Baby Showers?!

Apparently when you've been waiting to bring a baby home for as long as we have, that means that your friends and family have also been waiting that long and can't wait to celebrate with you when it actually begins to happen! Can you imagine how it feels to have the kind of support that involves three separate celebrations in honor of your little girl?! It's just been amazing. My work threw us a beautiful baby shower on July 14th. There was a huge cake, tons of presents, a Titan's diaper cake( how cool is that?!), and some of the greatest people anyone could ask to work with. Steve and I were so moved that they had gone through so much trouble for us. We had so much fun!

Next. on July 18th, came a fabulous tea party baby shower thrown for me by my mother-in-law, Gigi, and my sister-in-law. Friday. My mom, sister-in-law, Cindi, and niece, Chris, came in from out of town to celebrate with us. A room full of my best friends, family, tea, dessert, and presents! It was awesome!

Last but not least, Steve and I flew to California where my sister, Mariam, my mom, my Aunt, Mahvash, and my cousin, Nazly, threw us a couple's shower on August 2nd in a beautiful park in Laguna Niguel. Butterflies seem to be popping up everywhere around us lately; on the wall in Kaiyin's room, the logo for our adoption agency, on the dress I chose for the shower, etc... This theme continued with our California shower. My sister decorated lanterns with butterflies that she cut out and there was the most beautiful cake I've ever seen decorated with butterflies. It was so nice to get together with family and friends, eat, share baby stories and celebrate bringing Kaiyin into our lives. It turned out to be a perfect day.

Court Date!!

Well, I'm officially not a good blogger. I promise to try to be better about posting information as it happens. In the meantime, let me get everyone up to speed. First things first, we got our court date!!! Like everything else in this process, there's a story behind how that came to happen. Since we got our referral in June, based on recent patterns, we expected to get a July court date and we probably would have except one of the government offices in Ethiopia closed unexpectedly for two weeks in July. Since the courts in Ethiopia typically close for the rainy season for the months of August and September, we were prepared that this could mean that we wouldn't have a court date until October. We were told by our adoption agency that court closure dates hadn't yet been announced and that there was still a chance that we would get a court date in July or August but to prepare for the difficult news that it could in fact be October before our case is heard by a judge in Ethiopia. We didn't take the news well and prepared ourselves mentally for an October date. In the meantime, Steve and I were being spoiled with multiple baby showers. On July 14th we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary, had a beautiful baby shower thrown for us at my work, and went to an infant CPR class (yeah I know, such a nurse) so it was a full day. The next day when I checked my email, there it was! The email from our adoption agency telling us that we have a court date! It's August 11th! What a great surprise! Just when we had given up hope that we would have a court date before October, there was the email telling us we have an August court date! Apparently the courts are staying open a few weeks into August this year! We were so excited. This is it! The process to finalize our adoption and make Kaiyin officially our daughter. For those of you who aren't familiar with the process, here's what happens now. On August 11th our case will go before a judge in Ethiopia. We won't be there for the court date. Our adoption agency represents us. About 60% of the cases that go to court pass court the first time. The other 40% don't and will have to have another court date scheduled. Reasons for not passing court will vary and mostly have to do with paperwork and the judge needing to ensure that the baby in question really is an orphan. Obviously we are praying daily that we pass court on the 11th. We also have tentative travel dates! If we pass court on the 11th, we will fly to Ethiopia on August 29th and come home with Kaiyin on September 5th. The bad news is that we've also been given word that the courts will in fact be closing from August 22nd through the end of September so if we don't pass court the first time, our next court date would likely be in October. Please pray for us that we pass on the 11th and can go bring our daughter home. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

She's Perfect!

So now I'm sure you're wondering who she is! Well, we can't post pictures of her yet ( not until the adoption is official) but we can tell you a little about her. She is only two months old, weighs 8.5 pounds, is 22 inches long, and is perfect in every way!! We can't wait for you to see her! She's very smiley and just as sweet as can be! Okay, so this is what happens next. We have to go through the court proceedings in Ethiopia in order to make the adoption official. That's when we will officially be her parents. :) We will be assigned a court date within the next few weeks. Once we have a court date we will also have tentative travel dates. We are hoping to have a court date in mid to late July. Like I said, once we pass our court date Kaiyin will officially be ours and we will get to travel to pick her up 2-4 weeks after that. So we're hoping to travel in August. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we jump these final hurdles in order to bring our little girl home!

Christmas Came Early This Year!!!

The week of June 15th started out pretty rough. I was really hopeful that we would get our referral that week and felt like it couldn't happen soon enough. On Monday I got an email from our Family Coordinator with our adoption agency. The email said she would be on vacation the rest of the week and indicated that she would follow up with us when she got back the following week. For some reason this just left me feeling totally frustrated and defeated. At least another week of waiting, maybe two weeks by the time she gets back and gets caught up with work!! I just couldn't cope! Well, I had a total meltdown. I wish I could explain how it's possible to wait 10 months without losing it and then all of a sudden at 10 and a half months something like this sends you into a complete meltdown but I can't. Looking back on it even now, I feel so silly but that day it felt like no one in the world had ever wanted a child as badly as I do and having to wait any longer for her was just not going to be possible. I cried and cried and talked with Steve about it and came to the decision that I was going to stop talking about the adoption all the time. Maybe shifting my focus would help make it easier. I vowed to stop browsing the baby departments of stores and talking about her all the time. I closed the door to her room and prayed for peace. The next few days were much better. I went into a state of calm but could feel myself tense up everytime someone asked how things were coming along with the adoption. Then on Friday, June 19th (two days before Father's Day) everything changed. I was laying by the pool in our community and chatting with our neighbor, Denine. Steve was at work. My cell phone rang and I didn't recognize the number. This time instead of my heart racing I just assumed it was a sales person or something. I almost didn't answer it and then a voice in the back of my head said "you better just make sure". I answered and it was Caitlyn calling from our adoption agency. I had never spoken to Caitlyn before and even in that moment I thought maybe she was calling about paperwork or something else. After a few seconds I could tell in her voice that this was "the call"!! It was our referral call!!! She told me that she had some good news for me and wanted to know whether I wanted to try to get Steve on the line also. I, of course, said yes and the next thing I knew she was back and Steve was on the line too. Then she told both of us the news that we'd been waiting 10 1/2 months to hear. She told us that we had been matched up with a little girl!! She went on to tell us a little about her and I was so excited that I could barely focus. Steve and I just kept saying that we couldn't believe this. She told us that she was sending us an email with pictures of her, and information about her background and medical history. We got off the phone with Caitlyn and I called Steve back and said that I would run home and grab the lap top and head to his work so that we could go over the information together. I practically skipped home and Steve and I both started calling our families to tell them the good news. I remember my hands feeling shaky as I tried to call my Mom and Mariam. It was just so surreal. After all the wait and anticipating how and when we would get the news, it ended up being such a surprise. It was so awesome!!! I think Steve called everyone he knows to tell them the good news. I would listen to him talking on the phone and telling everyone about his little girl. I couldn't help but smile hearing him say "she's amazing". We went out to dinner that night to celebrate and decided we would sleep in the next morning and savor the day. At aroud 7am the next morning, I noticed that he was laying in bed wide awake and I asked him why he wasn't sleeping. He said "I can't sleep! It's like Christmas!". Yup, it doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My first Mother's Day and more fundraising!

Well, we're now officially 10 months into our 9-11 month wait! It's getting close and it's getting a little harder!! Every time my cell phone rings with a number I don't immediately recognize, my heart starts racing. It's hard not to wake up in the morning and wonder if today is the day we get to hear who our little girl is and see her picture. Luckily I'm married to a precious man who listens to me and finds projects for me to work on to keep my mind busy. I also remind myself frequently that it will happen when it's meant to happen and that in the meantime Steve and I need to enjoy our time together as a couple before little Miss Kaiyin gets here. Well, enough about that! Let's talk about the fun stuff!! May was another awesome month! I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day! My gorgeous cousin, Nazly, bought me my first ever Mother's Day gift! Even though I'm an "expecting mom", I wasn't really expecting to celebrate Mother's Day this year and then in she walks with a beautifully wrapped present. She bought Kaiyin a Burberry jacket!! It's so sweet. I sneak into her closet every now and then and just peak at it. It's awesome!! Then I got home and Steve had flowers, a beautiful card and a Pottery Barn Kids gift card for me! You know I'm already hooked on that store! It was so fun to go shopping for Kaiyin's room! Burberry and shopping?!?-being a mommy is fun!!

We also had a garage sale fundraiser at the beginning of May. It's another great story! It was the weekend of our neighborhood garage sale and the one weekend that I was out of town! Steve said that he would go ahead and do it on his own. Lots of friends and neighbors had donated great items for the sale and our garage was full!! The weekend rolled around and it rained all day the first day. Steve didn't even get to set up. The second morning started out with some rain too and things were not looking good but you know better than to think that's where it ends! The skies cleared just enough to allow a few hours of great garage sale fundraising! Our neighbors knew I was out of town and came out to help Steve all morning! They are so awesome! We're so lucky to live next door to these amazing people! The sale only lasted 3 hours until the rain moved back in but we raised $1000 in those 3 hours!! We were blown away!! Thanks to everyone who helped, donated, and shopped! Like I said, it was another great month. Hopefully the next time you hear from us it will be because we got our referral and we can tell you more about Kaiyin. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just when we thought we had hit the ultimate just got better.

As May rolls around and we think back on all that's happened in the past month, we're left speechless (If you know Steve, you know that is pretty amazing...haha). April was full of fundraisers, friends, and a show of support unlike anything we could have imagined. It started with our amazing friend, Keith Apple, going from store to store in our area asking if we could set up outside the store and tell people our story, promote our concert, and take donations. Although he was turned down at several places, he kept going (that's just the kind of guy he is) until a grocery store said yes. We spent two Saturdays fundraising and some of our great friends joined us. Teresa came out and made custom flip flops for anyone who made a donation and a few musicians who were a part of our benefit concert came out to play some music. With everyone's help, we raised about $1000 each day we were out there. We felt so much support from the community and even had a nice lady give us a $100 bill. Thanks to everyone who came out and helped!!

Then came the big event!! Our benefit concert at Mercy Lounge. To say it went well would be an understatement. It was by far one of the best nights of our lives. It was much bigger and better than we thought it could be. Josh Garrett was the man behind the night. Thanks to his commitment to the event and desire to see it be a success, it far exceeded our expectations. The music was the best! So many artists and everyone was so awesome! There was literally a room full of great silent auction items that had been donated from our friends in the community. And everywhere we looked there was a familiar face sporting a t shirt with Kaiyin's name on the back. We were just overwhelmed! We raised a total of $5500 that night but more importantly we have pictures, video, and memories to share with our little girl about the night when everyone showed up to show her some love. :) Here are a few pics from the night. We were so lucky to have professional photographer, Heather Hicks from Rescue Photgraphy, come out and take pictures that night. We will post those pictures as soon as we get them. Thanks to everyone who came together and made this night an absolute dream. We love you all!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A month full of love!

Well, we're officially 8 months into our wait and it's been an amazing month! We started fundraising this month and as you can see, everyone is "showing some love". We have literally been brought to tears by the kindness shown to us this month. People who love us have obviously stepped up in a huge way but we've also been shown kindness from people who don't know us all that well, and we even had a little one come to us with a fist full of change "for Kaiyin". It's been awesome! We've almost sold out of the 100 t shirts we ordered and have had to place another order. There is really no way to say thank you for all the support. We hope that one day we can show each and every one of you the love that we've been shown over the past month. Love you so much, Elmira and Steve.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Adoption Process and Where We Are in the Process.

Okay, we thought we'd take a minute and explain a little bit about the adoption process and then tell you where we are in all of this. The first thing we did when we knew we wanted to adopt was select an agency and then fill out an application. We did this back in January of 2008. Once the agency accepts your application, you start the "paper chasing" phase of the process. During this time you collect all kinds of documents from official birth certificates and letters of employment, to tax documents, reference letters, fingerprints, and everything in between. You also meet with a social worker for a few visits. She evaluates you, your marriage, and your home to ensure that you will make good parents. The social worker gathers documents, makes an assessment and compiles this information in a "Home Study" document. This documentation is needed by the US government in order to gain approval for adoption. Once you are receive this approval, then you go through the process of getting all the documents you collected notarized, county certified, state certified, and authenticated. These official papers along with your home study make up your "dossier" and are then sent to Ethiopia. Are you tired yet?! Our dossier went to Ethiopia on August 1st 2008. Now we are "on a wait list" for a child. We were allowed to choose the age and sex of the baby and we asked for an infant girl less than 12 months old. When it's our turn, we will receive a "referral". This means that we will get a phone call letting us know that there is a baby available for us. We will then be sent a picture of the baby along with medical records. Once this information is reviewed and we've accepted the referral, a court date will be set in the Ethiopian courts to finalize the adoption. Our agency has told us that it takes 9-11 months from the time the dossier goes to Ethiopia for us to get a referral. We are in month 7! So, that means we are hoping to get our referral as early as May and hopefully no later than July. We hope to travel to Ethiopia to pick up our little girl a few months after that but we'll have a better idea about travel once we get our referral. The Ethiopian courts close in the summer for two months so things might be delayed as a result of that. We're really hopeful that we won't run into that. Let's hope our referral comes in May!! So that's where we are in the process. It probably sounds like a lot of work but really it's been the best thing that has ever happened to us. If you could just see Steve light up when he talks about this little girl that he's never met, you'd know what I mean. It's just so awesome to be in love with the thought of someone. If this is the way we feel now, I can't imagine what it will feel like when we actually meet her! We're in trouble! We love to talk about her so please ask us if you have any questions. It's amazing to see how excited everyone is for us and we want to share this with you as much as possible.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We're Selling T-Shirts to Raise Money to Bring Kaiyin Home. Buy One Now!!

You know you want one of these really cool t shirts! These t shirts were designed by Kaiyin's Uncle Jeff and made by one of our great friends, Chris Carpenter. The back of the shirt is printed with Kaiyin's name up at the top. Only $15.00 each! We only have a few t shirts left and sizes are limited. Let us know what size you need and we'll see if we can't make it happen!


How Did You Come Up With That Name?

We really wanted her to have an African name so we spent some time looking through books and online websites for African names. We came across her name in the process. It's an African name that means "long awaited child". Seriously folks, we're not making this stuff up. As soon as we saw it, we knew that would be her name. Her full name is Kaiyin Mariam Burke at this point. My sister's name is Mariam and she paid big money to secure that middle name. :) We will probably add to her name when we discover what her given name is.

Kaiyin's First Shoes....Every Girl Needs Gold Loafers Right?!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kaiyin's Room

The beautiful mural is courtesy of our friend Jeff Welch. He's awesome! Thanks to our parents for the beautiful furniture! She's already spoiled.

Registering for Baby!

Steve registered for the practical stuff while I registered for pink Converse.