Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Weeks...But Who's Counting?

Okay, ME.  I am counting.  Since yesterday, I have had this ache/impatience permeate through me.  If we are confirmed by the Embassy, we leave on April 13th.  (We have tickets bought from April 13-24th). 

We have had a couple of really fun and busy weekends.  I haven't taken as many pictures as I hoped, but here are a few snapshots.

We celebrated my birthday and Justin's birthday with the Gerst family in Alto two weekends ago.  Sarah taught Navy and Merritt how to decorate cakes and it was beautiful!

                 Justin has a St. Patrick's Day Birthday.  I wonder if he always has a green cake?  ;)
I love this picture! Hudson sneaks a polka dot off the cake. 

Our Alto Shower was themed "Two Peas in a Pod".

Our sweet nephew Charlie, is learning how to crawl!

Our Leo Shower was on Saturday morning and was done in a children's book theme.  This picture isn't great because of the lighting, but here are the wonderful ladies on the committee.

Aunt Connie and sweet little Olivia!

Esther and her twin brother, Amos, became a part of the Schrenk family in the fall.  It is so wonderful to know the girls are going to have another set of Ethiopian twins in their Sunday School class!

Easter Program
I forgot the camera at the actual performance, but here are some snapshots from the Saturday practice.
I love Eden's face in this picture! 
Hopefully more of the program to come. :) 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Formula Shock

The kids in our agency's care centers drink formula called "Nan" and it is the most comparable to Nestle's "Good Start".  It is recommended that we start our girls on this. Yesterday I was at Babies R Us and had a coupon for formula if I bought two large cans.  I was rushing, dropped them in the cart and proceeded to check out. 


$26.99 a can?

What insight can you share with me on formula?
Where do you get the best deals?
Is there a generic that is just as good?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Straight Hair?

This is Jada.  She seems to have had more hair shaved than Adia, but it also seems what she has left is thicker.
I have been suprised to notice their hair looks straight.  I read that Ethiopian kids' hair continues to get curlier until the age of two.  What do you think?  Will the girls have straight hair?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caretaker Mehret

In the Mekele Care Center, Jon and I have consistently noticed one caretaker, we figured out her name is Mehret.  She is in a lot of the pictures with the girls, they appear to make good eye-contact with her and Mehret seems to exude joy, even through pictures.

When we visit Mekele, we can't wait to hug Mehret, thank her and hug her again.  Jada and Adia were just moved to Addis Ababa, but in this last set of pictures from one of the IAG mom's, a day or two before the girls' move, we received pictures that make our hearts rejoice! 

For the girls' first 4 months of life, this woman was incredibly instrumental.  We are so glad to have their relationship in a few photos, that we can show the girls. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

We Have Chunky Babies!

We had a wonderful weekend. With two showers and about twenty new pictures of the girls, I am floating!  The girls are wearing the clothes from our care package (they dressed Jada in green and Adia in pink).  The clothes were 0-3 months and they still look a little big, so I don't know how much they weigh.

I can't believe how big they are!
Adia Mehret
Jada Gebrela

My heart is squeezing!  Lordwilling, 23 days until we leave for Ethiopia and 28 days until we meet the girls.

I will space out more pictures this week...

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Best Vaccines I've Ever Had".

I am just realizing how this blog has become like therapy for me.  I can write and write about lots of adoption details.  I get it all out and if you get bored, you can stop reading and I don't even know it! 

The Vaccines
Yesterday we had to get vaccinated for:
Yellow Fever
Hep A&B
Polio Booster.

I am very scared of needles. Jon doesn't like them, but we determined, I am more scared of them. Like sick stomach, sweaty palms and feet when I think about needles entering my body. Like, I would rather face a pack of roaming, Mexican dogs, than needles...oh wait.  I have a greater chance of living facing a needle than the dogs, so I take that back. 

All of this to say, we had about a 45 minute drive and conversations kept circling back to shots feeling like they hit the bone.  We arrived with our cash, realized we were missing some information, but the nurses were gracious.

They called us back and we both sat down, making dumb, nervous jokes.  I told them I was scared, all of the sudden, Jon and I each had our own nurse, they told me not to look and they went to town.  I am not kidding, I think my nurse was done in under a minute. 

We were so giddy to be done.
The nurses gave us stickers and a suckers.We made statements like, "Hands-down, best shots I have ever had", and we gushed over the nurses.  (***Only funny to my family, but statements like, "these are the biggest glasses I have ever seen!***)

The incredible nurses.  We were so relieved.
I am holding my "brick of gold" ie, proof of yellow fever vaccine.  It must go in our passports.
Victorious over vaccines!

Hope you all have great, vaccine-free weekends! 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Love Hand-Me-Downs

Hip-Hip Hooray! Let's hear it for hand-me-downs! 

My sister-in-law, Sarah, has a daughter, Paige.  We have been the blessed recipients of Paige's wardrobe.  Also, thanks to Janel and Madison, we received more girl clothes! 
A mother who adopted twin girls from Colombia has been holding on to all of her girl twin clothes and said she would give them to us.  Hurray!  I love this.  It feels like Christmas!
This picture is in the nursery, but because I don't have a lot of floor space, I am currently using these shelves to sort clothes and also collect donations for the care centers in Ethiopia.  We have two showers this weekend.  We are excited to see everyone!  

In other news, we now have a Lifesong account. We are "Gerst #1222". 
Blessings on your Thursday!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Embassy Date

Drum Roll Please!  We have our Embassy Date.  :) 

It looks like we have an April 21st embassy date, which means, we will leave on April 13th(ish) and return April 24th.  All of this said, we do have to wait for confirmation from the Embassy and according to my understanding, that doesn't usually come with much advance notice.

We are choosing to buy tickets for those days, but the tickets come with an "change fee", so if we aren't confirmed, we won't be out all of our ticket cost.  Pray with us that we are confirmed for this date!

When I heard the date, I admit, I had some sniffles (partly because I am fighting a wicked cold!) but also because it is 3 weeks later than we were tentatively told.  Each day seems like this should be the day that they are in our arms!  However, we know that God is good and He is in control and so we trust in Him and know the little hiccup we are facing is in His Plan.  We have more time to prep and we probably really need it.  With that said, I am making a conscious effort to enjoy the sunshine and pray this cold isn't the end of me!  ;)

Some Nesting Shots

I painted the nursery a few weeks back. As I was pressing to get a lot of house projects done, I told Jon about the concept of "nesting".  One night, as he was putting together the crib, changing table, etc, I said, "Oh, Jon, you are nesting!"  He must have felt that is a little feminine. He informed me, "No, I am building the nest!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baby Josias

Do you remember this little guy?
This is another picture of baby Josias (more info a few posts down).  The need to pray for him is urgent.  He has developed reflux and vomits what he eats.  Josias still is weighing in at only 3.1 pounds and went to a hospital during the night. Please pray for his fragile life and for grace and wisdom for his caretakers.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I have never been good at it. 

Still waiting to hear on an Embassy date.  I don't feel panicky, I just really wish I knew.  This is a great time to insert something that my Uncle Tim and my Dad would say "Somebody call the Waaa-mbulance". :)  I think this endearing line is from "The Emperor's New Groove".  Before this adoption stuff, I don't know if I have ever just sat at the computer and willed my e-mail to send me some kind of news.  :)

The girls are most likely in Addis now and should be getting this care package any day now. 

Lordwilling, this is the last time we have to limit our care to a gallon-sized baggie. :)
The taggie is one my mom got the girls, it is made from Haitian linens from the Haitian women who make their living through selling their artwork through fairtrade. MEBSH runs a school.  If you are interested in anything made by them, contact me and I will put you in contact with the right person. :)

This is an older picture, but I love how it shows their shaved heads.
 I think they look pretty cute with mohawks. 
(Jada is on the left, Adia on the right)

This photo is when they received their first care packages.

Blessings on your weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Embassy Date

Hi All!

Just to warn you, I think my brain fell out of my ear last night. I don't know what is happening to me, but things are falling apart!  :)

We heard from our agency that we will know about our travel dates soon.  The first date they are working on for us, has us leaving in 12 days.  If that doesn't go through, we will leave in 26 days for the next embassy dates. 

Whoa. I know, I am alternately crazy excited/crazy overwhelmed.  We can't wait to have those girls in our arms!

Random picture for the day:
What shape in the clouds do you see?

Change in Ethiopian Adoption:
A new law was put into place yesterday.  As I understand it, any family who doesn't have a court date, now has to travel to Ethiopia twice, once for court and then a few months later to bring home their children.  I am so thankful that we made it through without this requirement, but also sad for the waiting families and the unknown they face. The changes bring about additional wait time and money for the families, but the advantage is the child is automatically a U.S. citizen about arrival in the U.S. and there is no need for readoption.

From the U.S. State Department:  http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia.html

Please pray we can bring our babies home!
Also, pray for the other waiting families, as the wait can feel so LOOOOOOONG.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fort For the Fatherless

Hi everyone! 

I just wanted to let you know some really exciting news for the Fort Wayne area churches!

There is a grassroots initiative starting in Fort Wayne, IN and we can all get involved.

Check out the website, http://www.fort4thefatherless.org/

Mark your calendars for May 21st to hear the incredible testimony of Stephanie Fast.

Please pray that God's heart for the worldwide orphans infects His Church and we stand up and do something about it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Wonderful Gift...

We are back from our quick trip to Mexico and had a great time.  We were able to reconnect with staff, church and kids and are sooo thankful we had the opportunity for the whirwind trip. 

A few photos of our time...

We were staying in the house where I used to live and were so blessed to have so much time with the kids.  On Friday, a little newborn boy, with no name, was brought to begin his life at CVE. 

He was named Josias, was premature and weighs in at a little above three pounds. This is what Adia weighed in the first pictures we saw of her!  
Steph and I giving him his first bath.  He hated it and cried, but we were so glad to hear those little lungs working!
After his bath, he went downhill, possibly from the energy exerted during the crying? 
Steph and Jodi could use our prayers, they each currently were taking care of children and now Josias as well. (I kept calling him a Glow Worm, because when he was all swaddled, that is exactly how he looked!)
This is our last night with him, we put him in a cookie basket to show how small he is!  He is looking like a different boy than the child who arrived on Friday! His face is fuller and his coloring is more rosy. 

Jon and I were so incredibly blessed to help with him.  During our "shifts" with him, we would talk about how we were getting the opportunity to know the work that Jada and Adia had been when they arrived at the care center in Mekele and realized the nannies possibly looked at them and thought, "what if they die?"

When I first saw Josias, I didn't cry.  When I first held Josias, I couldn't hold back the tears.  When you feel the weight of three pounds in your arms and then look at how intricately he was created, it is so humbling to realize the plans Our Creator has for Josias, for Jada and Adia, for each one of us!   

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Leeaaaviiiiing On A Jet Plane

No, not to Ethiopia.  Yet.  The title is way better if you sing it to yourself.  This is finally the weekend we are heading to visit our CVE family in Mexico. We are so excited to see the staff, kids and church again!

Each time we visit, the girls pretend not to like Jon.  This is a picture from evening one of watching the girls last year.  Yes, poor Jon is at the bottom of the pile.

We are glad for the opportunity to talk about our girls with these other special girls in our lives!
So excited to see the kiddos!

 To see more on the CVE kiddos and why we are going, click here.

We are ramping up on our trip to Ethiopia, just waiting for those travel dates! 

We need to take duffels with us filled with donations for the care centers and kids.  If you are interested in donating gently used clothing (all kids sizes), shoes (all kids sizes, especially croc style) bottles, stuffed animals,socks, undies or toys, we would greatly appreciate it. The donations of American families in Ethiopia is how they stay stocked.  From what we understand, clothing is very expensive in Ethiopia and not high quality.  The centers also need lotion,shampoo, etc, but that is heavier and we are restricted with a weight limit, so we will probably purchase to fill in the gaps.

If you have an interest, e-mail me at amymichellegerst@gmail.com.

Blessings!  TTFN.  (Yes, I was just watching the Tigger Movie with a client''s daughter).  ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Comes Next?

Thank you for your huge outpouring of support and excitement. To the women planning our showers, THANK YOU for your flexibility!

The girls will soon be transported from the state of Tigray, city of Mekele, to the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Mekele is in Northern Ethiopia. This is a two day trip by car or a two hour flight. The girls are coming by plane. The maps below are taken from mytravelmaps and show where Mekele is in relation to Addis. 

Pray for their adjustment as they are taken away from everything they know. Please pray for their caretaker, Mehret, who seems to be with them in every video and picture. I am so thankful for her and feel sad for her loss...People assume caretakers get used to loss of kids, I don't know if you can. 

Now, why the 4-6 weeks? What are you waiting for?!?!

-The court needs to issue an official degree that everything is final and approved

-After that is done, apply for a new birth certificate

-Work on children’s passports

-Translation of the three documents

-Line up embassy appointment

-Embassy determines a date for girls’ medicals

-Embassy sets a date to meet with us (Our agency receives dates every other Wednesday)

Whew.  Deep breath.  Next round of Paperwork, bring it!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Words cannot describe the wait.  Nor can words describe hearing the news that we passed.  It is official, they are ours. I am a mama.  A very thankful/weepy/giddy mama. 

Thank you for praying them home.  We have approximately 4-6 weeks for an embassy date, so 3.5-5.5 weeks until travel, when we can finally fill our arms with these beauties! 

Please continue to pray for Birthfather. He just made a two day trek and left his six kiddos at home to be interviewed by a judge, relinquishing his rights to his beautiful babies.   

Introducing the Girls (By sampling of pictures)

Pictures: Group 1 (weighing in at approximately 3 and 4 pounds)

Group 2 of pictures: weighing in at 5 and 6 pounds

Group 3: Pictures taken late January
Group 4 Pics: Adia
Held by caretakers, this is after the girls have their carepackages.  They are wrapped in the blankets we sent. The caretaker on the left is the one we see the most often in pictures. Adia is in the pink, Jada in the green, you can see that both of them have "mohawks" because of early bloodwork done.

Sleeping in the same bassinet.  Adia has used a pacifier and Jada never has.
Last Picture received 2-18
They are getting so big!  I think Jada has a double chin! 

Babies we are coming! 

Please keep praying for us and these babies.

My soul magnifies the Lord.