Friday, July 31, 2009

The Hamilton Family...for now

We debated whether or not to take these photos since our sweet Kalu is not with us...thus our family is not complete.  However, since this is the boys' first beach trip, we decided it was worth documenting in this way.  We will, of course, have another photo session when she arrives...or photoshop her in! :)  

Wow...hard to believe it is reality...but here it is in FULL color...we are a FAMILY!  There are many more to share...but here's a few for now! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Now that we have seen...

Wanted to share this powerful video from a dear friends blog.  God is at work all over the Africa, in Peru, in Haiti, and in our great United States of America...even right next door or sitting in the pew beside you. He calls His people to be involved.  All to pray.  Some to give. Some to go.  Some to bring home babies. We each have the PRIVILEGE to use the gifts He has given us to love the least of these. What seed of adventure has He planted in your heart to love the broken? It is NOT easy.  But if you are is MOST definitely worth it! 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hello, BEACH!

Yes, we are at the beach! (a previously planned vacation that we decided to stick with despite only being home from Africa for 7 days!)  The boys have adjusted so well so far that we decided to brave it gives us MORE quality time with Daddy and our older kids are encouraged to be able to do something we do every year...a little bit of normalcy is a blessing for all!  

So here we are at Rosemary Beach, Florida...with our good friends the Porters...and things are going well.  The kids absolutely LOVED the ocean and beach.  Their first words upon seeing the ocean was excited screams of "NEMO! NEMO! NEMO!"...yes, they have already watched the movie.  Hilarious! Upon arrival at the beach, we played and played and played...for 4+hours!  We videotaped their first reactions but our Flip is not downloading right you will have to wait! (sorry!)  Nate (Papy) was ecstatic to say the least...he screamed and jumped and played in the water non-stop!  He was so very brave and even boogie-boarded some.  Isaiah (Kiya) was more cautious but loved it a little at a time.  He enjoyed the sand, the fish that his big brother Matt was catching (more Nemos!) and laying on the boogie board at the edge of the water.  He played so hard he took a nap under the umbrella! 

We have a pool here at the after the beach...we played some more.  So fun!  Here are some pics!  Enjoy! (and thanks for your continued prayers...we feel them! )

Matt, the fisherman!

Hey, Matt!  Are those the Nemos you caught?
One sweet beach bum!
This bucket is heavy, Mom!
Nate (Papy) LOVES the waves!!!
Isaiah (Kiya) is not too sure about the water at first.

Kiya awaiting snack after swimming
Daddy in the pool with Nate, Madi and Matt
Nate and big sis in the pool!
Nate (Papy) and Isaiah (Kiya) explore the sand
Sand, sand...and more sand!
Matt, Christian and Nate (Papy)...boys having a blast!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Home at Last!

Our first family photo after returning home...and we look pretty good for being on an airplane for the previous 24 hours!!! What a joy to return to Knoxville to the hugs and cheers of friends and family at the airport! Papy (7 yr old...pronounced 'pop-ee' be called Nate) ran into the arms of his big brother and squeezed him so hard Matt thought he was going to pop! Kiya (4yr old...pronounced 'key-yah' be called Isaiah) also gave his big bro a big hug...and at last our family was together again. Of course, as many of you know, we did not get to bring our baby girl, Kalu (8 months...pronounced be called McKinley) home on this trip due to additional US Immigration paperwork that won't be completed until early September. While it was very hard to leave her in Ethiopia...we know God is in control and knows what is best for us all. It is a blessing to have these 8 weeks to get the boys' settled and secure before the demands of an we are looking at the bright side! Also, she is in great care at our agency's transition home...spoiled actually, as the director told me, "we usually feed on a 3-hour schedule, but with Kalu...we just feed her anytime she cries!" Oh, my! That will be fun when she gets home! :) I am thankful, though, as she is growing and very strong as you can see on the video I will post soon.
It is impossible to put into words our experience in Ethiopia...though I will try bit by bit as time goes on to share parts of our journey there. Suffice it to say that our hearts continue to fall in love with this country and its people who are beautiful, strong, resilient, loving and kind. They are poor physically but rich in culture and in love for one another.
For now, I simply want to share some pictures of our time with the boys and Kalu there...Enjoy!

Day One: Waiting to meet Papy, Kiya and Kalu for the first time!!!!!!

Day One: "Well, hey there!" Our first embrace! :)

Day One: Papy-Nate hugs his new sister!

Day One: Kiya looks happy about his new family!

Together at last!!! (but missing Matthew big-time!!!)

Day One: Madison and Papy-Nate!

Day One: Daddy and Sweet Kalu!

Day One: Mommy and Papy-Nate read a book. (Madi has Kalu!)

Day One: Daddy and Papy-Nate play soccer. (Papy won!)

Day Two: We are here to take you home forever! Papy, Mom, Madi and Kiya

Kiya is great at blowing bubbles!

Papy-Nate and Kiya-Isaiah love to show off the pics of their families!!!

Madison entertained the TH kids with her animal balloon making...who cares that she can only make a poodle? :) She was AMAZING!

Mommy and Kiya by the Transition Home school room.

Baby Kalu...Precious!

Anyone have a spoon handy? :)

I love my big sis! Can't wait to have this bundle HOME!!!!

There's more folks...we took over 350 photos...but I'm tired and naptime is over! Thank you for your prayers...keep 'em coming as the transition is going well but there are bumps along the way! We know God's grace IS sufficient and He will certainly finish what He has begun! All for His renown!!! We love you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mike with baby Kalu

This is Mike with baby Kalu on Meetcha Day!  We found out today for sure that this sweet girl will not be able to come home with us this trip.  She has to wait the results of her TB test which takes 8 weeks to culture.  We are confident her test will be negative, but are required to go through the governmental 'redtape' to prove it.  We are sad but do totally trust God's best timing for all our children to be home in Knoxville.  Looks like that  will be early September!


madison blowing bubbles with papy and kiya

This is the first day we met the boys. Madison did a GREAT job
entertaining them and being an all-around encouraging big sis!

Kalu and Madison

Meetcha Day - Kalu going for big sis' camera.  She goes for just about anything within arm's reach! We already decided one of her nicknames will be 'busy bee!'


madison blowing bubbles with papy and kiya

This is the first day we met the boys. Madison did a GREAT job
entertaining them and being an all-around encouraging big sis!

Mom and Papy

Meetcha Day - Mom and Papy hang out while he enjoys a lollipop!


Kiya Enjoying Beach Ball with Madison

Meetcha Day...Kiya's BIG smile (complete with infectious giggle) while playing beach ball with Madison!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meetcha Day!

We were officially introduced to our newest children on Monday
afternoon here in Ethiopia! It was an amazing afternoon. In this
picture, you cannot really see Kalu, our baby girl but it is the only
picture of the 6 of us. We have lots of pics and video that we will
try to share here on the blog one at a time.

Nate (who goes by Papy for now) is 7 and a kind and fun-loving kid.
He was sweet to give lots of hugs and kisses and wanted to share all
the candy we gave him with his friends at the Transition Home. He
enjoyed playing soccer with Madison and Mike and knows quite a bit of
English words. He understands MUCH of what we say. He 'borrowed'
Madison's camera and took 50+ photos in a short time frame! Madison
was hiding her camera today! :) He can write his name and lots of
numbers. He repeats everything we say in English!

Isaiah (who goes by Kiya) is 4 and has an infectious giggle. Though
he really enjoyed blowing bubbles, playing cars and blowing up
balloons with us, he was careful with his affections yesterday, and
really took to Mike the best. Today he was more open to all of us and
had a blast with Madison back at our Guest House doing 'rocket'
balloons and playing chase.

McKinley (Kalu) was sweet and smiled at us alot. She is very aware of
everything around her and wants to be busy all the time. She is very
content though and only fussed when she was hungry. She has gained
weight and is amazingly strong. She sits very well and crawls fast
when she sees something she the beach ball.

Tonight we brought the boys home to the Guest House with us. Kalu is
staying at the Transition Home until the US Embassy clears her to get
her Visa. With the boys we have conquered play time, potty time,
meeting new friends, dinner, brushing teeth, pj's and now bedtime.
Pray we have a good night's sleep! Nate refused to take a shower
simply wagging his finger at us like 'no, no, no'.??...we don't have
a bathtub we're not really sure what's up with that. So we
decided to use wipes to get the important places clean and figure that
out later! :)

We are enjoying our time learning about and experiencing the beautiful
and loving people of Ethiopia. And also getting to know the 10 other
families here with us! We also got to see our friends Marla, Jordan,
Mike and Lola today!!! Awesome! We will post pics one at a time with
captions as we have power and internet access. Both are unpredictable
here! :)

We love you and thanks for your prayers. Pray tonight that the judge
will look favorably on Kalu's case tomorrow and let her come home with
us this Friday! It will be a true a miracle if it happens...but we
know if it is His will...nothing can stop it.

And a special note to Matt! We love you and miss you and can't wait
for you to meet your brothers and little sister! the boys love to play
and will think that you are a great big brother! Hugs and Kisses!

Good Night from Addis Ababa!
Beth and Madison (for Mike, Papy and Kiya!)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Here is the plane that will take us to our new family members!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

We Love Madison!

Another test.  This is really cool!

This is a TEST

We are testing the ability to post to our blog via email while we are in Ethiopia.  Here goes.
BTW...this is the newest pic of our baby girl!