Keeping Up With The Jones'

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Brandon and I have been married for almost 13 years, have two beautiful children, soon to be three! We are adopting from Ethiopia and couldn't be more excited to start this new chapter!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

One month home....

Well, we're a few days shy of being home one month. In some ways it seems like it's been only a couple of days and in other ways it seems a lot longer!

I have actually had Mamush in my custody for almost 5 weeks. I got him the day after my aunt and I arrived in Ethiopia on Aug 22nd. We flew in on the 21st and headed straight for the care center from the airport. He ran straight into my arms when he saw me, just like he did with Brandon. So sweet! I was prepared for him not to, given that he didn't know who I was and with all the training we took it was emphasized that he would likely be scared or very shy at first. He was not scared or shy, and when it was time for us to leave he cried.

I will write about my trip in another post with more detail.

Mamush absolutely adores Madelyn and Nolan. He bonded with them Day 1. He always wants to be where they are, snuggling with them on the couch, jumping with them on the trampoline outside, and he desperately wants to go to school with them. He asks for them multiple times during the day, and cries when they have to leave. Poor guy. :(

Mamush and Nolan have a great brotherly relationship. They love each other deeply and like to play but they don't get on each other's nerves at least not yet. :) Madelyn and Mamush are a different story. They love each other deeply also, but she gets annoyed with him, and he picks on her. He is definitely the annoying little brother she hasn't had with Nolan. He barges into her room without knocking (we're working on that, especially when she is getting dressed), tries to lock her in and out of rooms, pinches her, and gives her the cold shoulder when he's upset with her. She tries to mother him and in return, gets defiance from him. (We're working on that too). However, he sneaks into her room in the middle of the night to sleep with her when he wakes up and can't go back to sleep and crawls into her lap before anyone else's when he wants to cuddle. It's a sweet relationship that is developing and I am curious to see how it progresses.

Mamush is a very loving, sweet little boy that we love very, very much. He is strong-willed and is really testing his boundaries right now. He does it WAY more with me than he does with Brandon. Brandon can tell him "no" and he accepts it and moves on, but when I tell him "no" he continues to do whatever it is he is doing without really caring about my response. It's always easier with Mamush when Brandon is home because he backs me up and tells Mamush that he needs to listen to me. If only he could be home all the time. :) I one wants that! It is getting better though...every day we make progress and even though we have "good days" and "not so good days" we always make progress and for the first time he asked for me to put him to bed. Made my mama heart melt.....

So...we continue to be consistent with him and pray that with God's grace we will make through to month 2. :) Until then.....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Road trip! - that never got posted!!!

Jamie, the kids, and I all took our first road trip together! What a fantastic time we had. We left July 11 and returned July 17. Going to eastern Washington for the week you'd think that we would have had nice, hot weather BUT alas, we did not. It was still a great time! We started our road trip by stopping at the Aplets and Cotlets factory in Cashmere. We got to go on the tour and of course, had to wear hair nets. SWEET!

Yes, that is a two-headed calf and Nolan was enthralled!

Next up....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A quick timeline of our adoption journey so far (if I could figure out how to add it to the side I would...I'll enlist help from someone eventually):

February 2010 - Started adoption process
September 3, 2010 - On wait list
October 2011- Go on hold
March 10, 2012 - Off hold, back on wait list (adjusted wait list date)
March 1, 2013 - Referral
March 20, 2013 - File submitted to court
April 8, 2013 - Found out MOWCYA court date scheduled for May 24, 2013
May 16, 2013 - Found out MOWCYA court date changed to May 21, 2013
May 22, 2013 - Birth relative relinquished, no MOWCYA letter
June 4, 2013 - MOWCYA letter in file, court date scheduled for June 7, 2013
June 7, 2013 - Passed court
July 25, 2013 - Submitted to U.S. Embassy
August 7, 2013 - Cleared embassy
August 9, 2013 - Received word that our requested embassy appt of Aug 22 was accepted.
August 19, 2013 - Left for Ethiopia
August 21, 2013 - Arrived in Ethiopia, met Mamush
August 22, 2013 - Took custody of Mamush and had embassy appointment
August 26, 2013- - Left Ethiopia
August 27, 2013 - Arrived home in Seattle


We got our referral!! I can't believe I'm actually typing the words. It seems like it's been so long coming that I never thought I would be able to say it! WE GOT OUR REFERRAL!!! 

He's a beautiful little boy that I am already madly in love with even though I've only seen a handful of pictures of him and never met him in person or heard his voice. 

Here's how March 1, 2013 went: 

What a very ordinary Friday it was going to be. I was going to drive to Lynden for work (about a 2 hour drive from my house) to find meters that had no addresses attached to them. BOR-ING!!! I was even wearing sweats because I knew I would literally be driving all day long and really, who was going to see me and who cared what I looked like? 

Just as we're getting ready to walk out the door (I was taking Madelyn and Nolan to school) my phone rang. It was Brandon. It was 8:57am. We usually leave at 8:56am so I was already feeling the pressure of being late. I answered in a very clipped and hurried way, "Hi." Brandon asked me, "Did you see the email from Lindsay?" I said, "No.....I'm walking out the door to take the kids to school." He said, "Read your email." I, not in a nice way, asked him, "What did it say?" He said, "There is a little boy and she wants to know if we want more info on him." My heart started HAMMERING. WHAT?! Is this it?? It's not how it's supposed to be! We're supposed to get a phone call from Fort Worth, Texas. What in the world?! I literally could not think straight for about 10 seconds. Brandon said, "Just check your email." 

So...I get in the car to drive the kids to school, thinking that I would check my email on my phone as soon as they were out of the car when my phone rang....817 area code - Forth Worth, Texas!!!!! This was it...this was what we'd been waiting so long for!

I answered, "Hello?" I got THE. BEST. GREETING. EVER. "Hi April, this is Lindsay from Gladney and this is your referral day." WA HOO!!!!!!! 

Of course I started crying because I was so happy and then asked if she could call back so that Brandon and I could run home and be on the phone call together. About 1/2 hour later we saw the first pictures of our son and got  his background information and health information. We are so over-the-moon happy I can't even describe it. 

Brandon kept saying it would happen in March. He had a "feeling". My friend Suzi said the same thing. She thought March. They were right! 

I can not wait to meet our little guy and tell him how much I love him. The kids are ecstatic and can't wait to meet him. Just praying now that everything goes smoothly for court and embassy so that we can bring him home and start our new life as a family of 5. Thank you, Jesus, for our new son.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Long time, no talk

Well, it's been quite a while (in fact, nearly a year) since I've written any posts on here. It's not for lack of trying though! I think that's what happens when you have an old computer that takes forever to download pictures. Sometimes it posts and sometimes it doesn't. Oh well.

I will really try to be better about posting though, if for no other reason than my children will have SOME sort of "scrapbook" they can look back to. I am terrible at scrapbooking and keeping photo albums so this will just have to do.

What is new and exciting? Madelyn's in 3rd grade and doing awesome! She was in a drama performance in March and did unbelievably well! We are so proud of her! I'll see if I can somehow post the link to her singing. Nolan is doing quite well in school too. We are so proud of the progress he's made this year. We love his teacher, Mrs. Carrington, and hope that he has the same type of teacher next year.

We are still waiting for a referral for a little boy from Ethiopia. We had put ourselves on hold for quite some time, due to finances but we realized that we weren't putting our faith in God regarding that situation. We do feel led and called to adopt and if we believe that then we have to believe that He will provide for us when the time comes to pony up the cash. Where is our faith, right? I have asked myself that question many times. All I can say that is that we were in a very rough spot and we're slowly coming out of it but that shouldn't matter. We know that we have to be obedient to Christ and we know He called us to this. We will follow Him.

K, so I think I added the link of Madelyn's solo. Hopefully I did it correctly and it works.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Photos courtesy of Krista Schei - thanks, Krista!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer of Fun!

Our summer of fun is just about to start! The kids just got out of school last Friday, June 26th. The first order of business was for the kids to go to Krista's yesterday and today. The kids were thrilled, to say the least! They love going to her house and playing with Will and Katie and Ben. Today they are off to go swimming (pictures will come soon) and then river rafting and demolition derby along with fireworks this weekend! Let the fun begin!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Me too

Last week we had school conferences. Each teacher gave us a portfolio of the kids' work that they had completed for winter quarter. Here is what Madelyn put down for her wish/hope for 2011.

Me too, too.......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Go, Dog. Go!

Working part time has many perks. While I sometimes wish I could quit completely and be a full time stay at home mom I do enjoy my work and the adult time I get, along with getting out of the house and earning a small (very small) income. Plus, I have a nice flexible schedule that allows me to do things with the kids at school, such a field trips and getting to volunteer in their classrooms once/week.

Yesterday I went with Madelyn's class as a chaperone on a field trip to the Seattle Children's Theatre and saw their production of Go, Dog. Go! What a great show! They took a 5 minute book to and turned it into an hour and 30 minute musical. The kids absolutely loved it and I have to say that I was giggling at quite a few parts myself. Nolan's class went as well since all of the 1st grade classes were going but because Madelyn is in a 1st/2nd split her class got to go too. Nolan sat with Madelyn and I during the first half and at intermission went back with his friends and sat with them during the second half.

Anyone that knows me well knows that anything having to do with cars and hitting curbs, or running over something, going too fast and getting mild whiplash when you slam on the brakes....that stuff makes me laugh really hard so the scene in the play where they were driving to the dog party...let's just say it was my favorite part. Brandon asked the kids separately about the play, "How was it?!" They both answered the same, "It was really funny."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting, waiting, waiting

I feel like have been fairly patient and have not gotten riled up over the wait for our referral and even taken in stride the different obstacles that have started to surface regarding our adoption process. I am slowly losing my positive attitude. I am getting frustrated and anxious. What this ultimately means is that I'm not praying enough and giving my worries and anxiousness to God, the One who can handle it and the One who knows what's going on, here and in Ethiopia. I KNOW that His timing is perfect and know that I don't have all the pieces to the puzzle. I do take comfort in knowing that God's hand is all over this and has the perfect plan for our family. Friday will mark 6 months on the waiting list.

The kids are doing well...we are in the throes of selling Girl Scout cookies and Madelyn has been enjoying that. Nolan is in Cub Scouts still and baseball starts in less than a month. Where is the time going?!?

BTW...random thought here...I think that dogs eating chocolate and getting sick from it is a myth. Our dog ate an ENTIRE box of Tagalongs yesterday while we were gone and was fine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My most favorite time of year

I am absolutely giddy. I love Christmas. I love the music, I love the decorations, I love baking, I love that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! It it my most favorite time of year. I feel warm and fuzzy and so incredibly thankful for everything that we have.

As I began decorating this year, which included getting into the attic to get everything down, figuring out where I put stuff, and then trying to somewhat organize where things will go (the kids, mind you, are frantically pulling stuff out trying to find their stockings and their nutcrackers) I am reminded of how blessed I am to be living in this country where I have the freedom to decorate for Christmas, where I can put up my nativity scene near the front window so anyone passing by can see it and I don't fear persecution for celebrating the birth of my Lord. What a blessing!

I am reminded of how we are blessed because we have a warm roof over our heads and food in our cupboards and we have a healthy family. Do I deserve these blessings? No. Does God give us good and perfect gifts? Yes. And I am thankful. So incredibly thankful.

We always host Thanksgiving at our house and I was thinking of how next year I would be adding another little plate at the table, God-willing, for our new son. This thought seemed to carry over into the decorating for Christmas since the kids were asking which stockings were mine and Brandon's (they of course know their own) and I wondered if I might be adding another one very soon. I imagine it will continue as I wrap gifts and we carry out our traditions of making sugar cookies at Grandma's house and driving around looking at Christmas lights.  Will our new little guy be with us next year doing all these wonderful things?? I pray it will be so!

I am anxious to find out who this little boy is and when we'll be able to meet him. Friday will mark 3 months on the waiting list and it has gone by so fast that I really can't believe it. Not a day goes by that I am not thinking of him and what he's doing and wondering what his story is.

This post started because I am so excited for Christmas and wanting to share how much I love this time of year but ended up being Thanksgiving/Christmas/waiting list update all in one! I'm good with that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today is the first day that I am officially no longer Eli's caregiver/nanny/babysitter...whatever you want to call me. Actually, that's not right. It would have been last Thursday but today I am feeling the loss of him. Yes, it was my decision and yes, I know he's not mine but I love him like he is.

When Matthew & Nikki first asked me about being able to watch Eli I prayed about it and talked with Brandon and really took my time in giving them an answer. I prayed that God give me the love for him that I have for my own children and He did. He answered my prayers tenfold. I can honestly say that I love Elijah with as much fervor as I do Madelyn and Nolan. He's my little buddy. We have a special relationship that I can't really describe. I am his auntie. I'm his "Awa".

What I didn't pray for and probably should have, was that when the time was right, and it was time to move on from being his caregiver, that I would be able to let go and not feel the hurt that I feel right now. It's probably totally unhealthy to be mourning the loss of a little boy who is perfectly fine, is being well cared for by his new nanny, that I WILL see quite often, and whose parents we are extremely close with. But he brought me such absolute joy and loved me as much as I loved him that my heart is breaking because I will no longer be the one to care for him, to see his glowing little face every Wednesday and Thursday morning.

I know this whole thing may sound totally irrational, especially considering that I am now able to work in Madelyn & Nolan's classrooms every week, go on field trips, and take time to bond with our son when he comes home. It doesn't stop my heart from hurting. I expect it will take a long time to mend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Latest news from Ethiopia

On Monday we received the latest news from the federal court in Ethiopia re: travel and court dates. They have decided that instead of both parents having to travel to Ethiopia to attend court only one parent is now required to go. Also, they have changed the court process. The previous way they scheduled court dates was that once you accepted your referral you were assigned a court date that you did not have to attend. This first court date was for MOWA (Ministry of Womens Affairs) to give their opinion to the judge on whether or not the child should be adopted and for the birth family to relinquish their child, if possible. The second court date, approximately 4-8 weeks later, was for the adoptive parents to be present in court to state their request to adopt their child(ren). Now there is only one court date. MOWA, birth parents, and adoptive parents will all be in court on the same day but MOWA and birth parents will be there in the morning and the adoptive parent(s) will be there in the afternoon. This is really great news because travel is approximately 4-8 weeks quicker than it would have been!

Gladney has a conference call that they give on their Ethiopia program every month and this afternoon they gave a good explanation of the new policies as well as what to expect on the first trip to Ethiopia. The first trip is NOT a bonding trip, you do not get one-on-one time with your child, you do not get to have pictures taken with only your child and you and you aren't allowed to give them a care package. If you take one, the care center will keep it for you until you have passed court (which may or may not happen on the date that you're there) and then give it to your child. The bonding time will be on the second trip, after you have passed court, and the child is officially yours.

Brandon and I are talking about the different possibilities but right now we're leaning toward Brandon leaving for the first trip, me giving him power of attorney to speak for me in court, and returning home and then I will will travel for the second trip and he will stay home. This is not set in stone but this is what we're thinking for now.

We'll keep you posted!

Oh, and the wait list is still approximately 8 months...we're almost to month #2!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Madelyn's 8th birthday

 Madelyn turned 8 years old this year! I can't believe how fast 8 years has gone by! She had a very fun, special birthday this year. She had the option of having a party with a lot of her friends at home or taking one friend to go to Lily's Pampering Salon & Party Boutique for an afternoon of pampering. She chose to take Bella (no surprise there!) and go to Lily's. The girls had a GREAT time! They got manicures, pedicures, had their make up done, drank pink lemonade, ate cupcakes, and even got their ears pierced!! It was a HUGE day for both girlies!!


Getting pedicures

Aunt Jamie got to go with us!

Beautiful toes


Bella getting her make up done

Madelyn getting her make up done

Bella getting her ears pierced! Gorgeous! She was sooo brave!

Madelyn was upset when she got her ears pierced but is very happy with the outcome!

Mama wiping away the tears.
Silly, happy girls at Red Robin for lunch after their morning at Lily's. if that weren't enough of a celebration.......we had dinner with our family to celebrate as well!

First day of 1st Grade and 2nd Grade

Nolan was so ready for the first day of school! He loves it every single day!

 Madelyn has a bit of a harder time with school starting but having her same teacher as last year helped!

Addis Ababa