Friday, December 25, 2009

We Are Back!

Just a quick post to let you know we made it to Ethiopia and are back with Ava. We are really exhausted and are glad to be home. The trip was the most amazing 3 days!!!!! (we arrived Monday night around midnight and left Ethiopia Thursday night).

I'll post some photos and write more about the trip tomorrow!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flight cancelled

We just found out that our flight for tonight has been cancelled. The plane coming into Dulles was diverted to NJ. Not sure what our next step will be. We really need to leave by Monday morning. Please pray that they decide to bring that plane in tomorrow. There is not another scheduled flight out until Monday and it's sold out.

Not a good day for a snow storm

Just wanted to post a quick message. Thanks to everyone who has been calling and emailing! We are getting hit with a huge snow storm today. So far we have about 10 inches of snow and may get 8-10 inches more! Virginia just cannot deal with that amount of snow! Our plane is scheduled to leave tonight. Dulles Airport still has 1 or 2 runways open, but that could change at any moment. If we don't get out tonight, we are waitlisted for a flight on Monday (which is full). Our embassy appointment is on Wednesday and paperwork has to be filled out (by us) and processed before that appointment. I'll post again later this afternoon with another update.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Love this Poem

A friend sent me this poem and it's perfect timing for our little Ava! Not sure who the author is.

Twas the Night before Christmas--for the parentless............

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land
there are parentless children, with no toys in hand

No stockings to be hung by the chimney with care
no hopes for a family soon to be there

Their beds are not snug--but cold and quite bare
there are no goodnight kisses--no one to care

While we in our homes, laughing in delight
all settle down for a Merry Christmas Eve night

When in some one's heart--there arises a clatter
there are children in need--who's lives really DO matter!

Away to the computer please go in a flash
to see the sweet face with whom YOU could be matched!

While a child you see--their beautiful face all aglow
could this be MY child--could I already know??

When in the dreams of the orphan--what always appears
is a family to love them, to care and hold dear

As you stare at that child--your heart beats real quick--
for you know in your heart that sweet face will stick

More dreams sweet children have--to call parents by name-
come mama! come daddy! come family to claim!

To the ends of the earth--your heart seems to call
now child--I'm coming--I wish for you ALL!

So on a plane to your child--over rooftops you flew
to hold this dear soul--a wish did come true

And then in a twinkling-I saw through the door
this child of my heart-that was waiting no more

As I got my camera and was turning around-
into my arms did he come with a bound!

He was dressed in many layers from his head to his foot
and into my heart his life was just put

there was no round face--no plump little belly
just sad little eyes, and legs shaking like jelly

In a swirl of a pen, and a stamp and a seal
my world became brighter--like I could suddenly feel!

We spoke not a word--they weren't needed at all
and I knew in this moment where I got this call

God layed his hands on my heart--and to the occasion I rose
and He could do it for you--this question He'll pose.....

It won't be a shout--no not even a whistle
it won't be real clear--but faint like a whisper

Can you make room in your heart--if you try with your might?
And make a difference for one--help them see the light?

I can see you exclaim as you hold your child tight--
Thank you Lord for this gift--you got it EXACTLY right

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New photos

The countdown continues.......16 days until we leave to bring Ava home! Here is the type of stuff I am running around doing as we get ready to get the suitcases packed.
- buying converters and adapters for the electrical outlets
- getting prescription meds from our doctor (in case we get the stomach gunk)
- finish buying donations for the orphanage
- getting Ava's clothes washed, sorted, packed
- getting everything organized for xmas
- getting our phones switched over for international coverage
- checking with insurance for our travel and Ava's coverage
.......the list goes on and on!!!!! Hard to believe in 3 weeks we'll be on a plane flying home with Ava!

Here are some new photos a family took for us last week. I love her smile. She has recovered from the flu and it looks like she is gaining some weight!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In exactly one month from today, we will be home with Ava celebrating Christmas day! We are particularly thankful this year for our new daughter! We want to wish all of our friends and family a Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving is
a time of gratitude to God, our Creator and Provider,
whose guidance and care go before us...
and whose love is with us forever.

Thanksgiving is
a time to reflect on the changes,
to remember that we, too, grow and change
from one season of life to another.

Thanksgiving is
a time of changing seasons, when leaves turn golden
in Autumn's wake and apples are crisp
in the first chill breezes of fall.

Let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
As we see the beauty of Autumn,
let us acknowledge the many blessings which are ours...
let us think of our families and friends..
and let us give thanks in our hearts.

~~Author Unknown.~~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ava has the stomach flu

We received a call from our agency on Wednesday informing us that Ava has the stomach flu. They assured me she is on an oral hydration schedule and if it was necessary, they would put her on an IV there at the Transition Home. They will call with an update next week to let us know how she is doing. Poor little Ava has already suffered thru the chicken pox last month and now she has the flu. We need to get her home!

Here is a photo a friend of mine sent me of Ava. She is adopting from the same agency and is right behind us on the referral list. She went over to visit her daughter and was kind enough to visit with Ava and take some photos. I love this one because you can really get a sense of how big (or small) she is. Those cheeks just seem to be getting bigger and bigger!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flights are booked!!!!!

We received travel dates from our agency today! We will be leaving on December 19th and arriving home Christmas morning.......what an awesome Christmas this will be! Originally, we thought we would be arriving home on the 26th and we weren't thrilled that some of us would be in Ethiopia and some of us would be here on Christmas day. We are so glad that we will get to spend that day with all 4 of our daughters.

There is lots to do between now and the 19th! We have started to purchase Ava's clothes, diapers, toys, etc. We will be taking donations for the orphanage over in large plastic containers and those are filling up quickly.

There will be about 5 or 6 other families from our agency traveling on those same dates and we look forward to meeting all of them. We have all emailed and chatted online for the past year and a half and it will be exciting to meet them in person.

We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! The most exciting part of the adoption journey is just around the corner and we can't wait to hold our daughter in 33 more days!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

She is Ours!!!!!!

We just received news that Ava Selamnesh is officially a Jarvie! We are thrilled and thankful!!! Now we can post those photos!!! Welcome to our family, Ava!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One More Day!

Hopefully by this time tomorrow, we'll have good news about the courts and will be able to post Ava's photos on our blog. I was worried that the weeks would drag by as we wait for court, but things have been so busy around here, the 12th has just zoomed up on us.

We have had Olivia home with the swine flu, our dog has been diagnosed with bladder stones (for a second time), and Madeline had to come home from school today with pink eye. So that, on top of our usual stuff, has made the time fly by.

We need some good news and we hope we'll get that tomorrow.

Please PRAY tonight as you go to sleep for our little Ava and her court date. It will be Thursday morning there and we need the judge to be in a good mood, the paperwork to be complete, and the birthmom to be present. Lots of things need to be in order!!!!! We are ready to have Ava here with us!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a little info about Ava

The family who was behind us on the waiting list to receive a referral for a little girl has traveled over to Ethiopia to visit their daughter (they have not passed court yet, so cannot bring her back with them). Anyway, Kristin (the mom) wrote me an email today about Ava. It is so exciting to hear how she is doing. I am so thankful to Kristin for taking time out of her trip to spend a moment with Ava and take some photos for us. Here is part of the email she sent:


Ava is spectacular! We got several pictures of her today – of course she grinned every time after the click of the camera. She is absolutely adorable – incredibly alert. We had her outside and she turned her head to see everything and at every voice. A real beauty. She seemed quite healthy – may be the only kid there without a horribly runny nose.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Week from Today!

One week from today we will know if we have passed court and if Ava is a Jarvie forever! The excitement in the house is building as we look at the calendar and November 12th has COURT DATE in big, bold letters. We are cautiously optimistic, but we know there is that chance that we won't pass on the first try.

I have thought a great deal about Ava's birthmother this week. What is she thinking about as she prepares to (hopefully) make the trip to Addis Ababa for the court hearing? Does she feel relief that her daughter will be raised by a loving family in the United States? Is she sad that she will no longer have the option of seeing her daughter? I can't help but think she is filled with all kinds of emotions and thoughts........I wish I could tell her that her daughter will grow up with loving parents and sisters. I wish I could hug her and tell her how much courage she has. I read this poem often and know there will always be a connection between Ava's birthmother and our family.


Once there were two women who never knew each other

One you do not remember, the other you call Mother

Two different lives shaped to make you one

One became your guiding star, the other became your sun

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it

The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name

One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears

One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do

The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.

Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?

Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.

---- Unknown

Friday, October 30, 2009

We Have A Court Date!

Our agency emailed us yesterday to inform us that our court date for Ava is November 12th! This was great news!!!!! We had thought since we hadn't heard anything about a court date at this point, that we would be assigned a date in December or even later.

The court date is an important step in the adoption process because that is when Ava will legally become our child and be a Jarvie forever! We do not have to be present for the court date....we have signed a power of attorney form so that our agency can stand in for us.

In order for us to pass court we need a couple things to be in place:

1. All paperwork (dossier, agency paperwork, orphanage paperwork) must be complete and correct. If anything is missing or wrong, we do not pass.

2. Ava's birthmother must attend the court date. If she does not show up, we do not pass.

Our agency has told us we have a 50/50 chance of passing this first time. If we do not pass on Nov. 12th, then we will be assigned another court date 4-6 weeks later and we try all over again to pass court. I know families that have passed the first time and I know families that have had many court dates. Let's hope we are in the 50% that pass the first time!!!!

If we pass, then we could travel 4 weeks later, which would be BEFORE Christmas. That would be the best Christmas gift we could ask for. There is also a chance we could pass, but travel after Christmas. Obviously, we wait and see how it all works out!

I am a big believer in the power of prayer, so please PRAY that everything is in order for our Nov. 12th court date!!!!!

Once we pass, we will post photos of her on our blog.

Whew, hope that wasn't too confusing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fortune Cookie

The courts opened yesterday in Ethiopia and some families have been assigned court dates already! This is very encouraging and we hope to hear something soon!

Tonight we ordered Chinese take-out for dinner. Madeline's fortune was great! It said "Happy event will take place shortly in your home." I am going to interpret that as we'll be passing court soon. The day we pass court will be a "happy event in our home" because Ava will legally become our child at that point. I think we need to eat fortune cookies more often........that fortune put me in a great mood!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Court delayed and a little shopping!

The Ethiopian courts were supposed to open Oct 6th. That was delayed until Oct 12th. Today we received an email that they did not open today, but should be opening tomorrow. This type of thing used to frustrate me, but now I have come to realize this is just they way they operate. We hope to hear something soon about our court date.

The girls and I did a little shopping for Ava over the weekend. We purchased a stroller and car seat!!!! It is beginning to feel like Ava will actually be here soon. Olivia has been rolling the stroller all around the house "testing it out"!

We were able to send in 5 questions about Ava to our agency. Each month, they will answer our questions and send us updated photos. So, we asked basic things this month.....such as her development, eating schedule, sleeping schedule and updated measurements for her weight, height, etc. I am hoping we won't have to send questions for long and that soon she will be home with us.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Referral Acceptance

Last Friday we had an international adoption doctor review the limited medical info we have for Ava. He did not see anything alarming in her paperwork and so we have decided to accept the referral! Today I drove our paperwork over to America World and turned it in to Terra, our family coordinator. It was good to see her had been 11 months since I was last there, turning in our dossier.

The courts open on October 6th, so we will hope to hear something about a court date next month.

Bruce and I have to go and get re-fingerprinted (Homeland Security) next week because our original set expires in November.

We bought a few things for Ava and will be sending them over with a family who will be traveling in October to bring their child home. I bought her a little sleep outfit, a rattle and some photos. That family has also offered to take photos of Ava for us while they are there. I just can't wait to see more photos of her!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What an Awesome Day!!!!

Today we received our referral for a beautiful 4 month old baby girl!!!!!!! Hard to believe we started this journey 17 months ago......but it was so worth the wait when we opened the email today and saw her adorable face! We cannot post her name or photos until we pass court which will hopefully be in late October or early November. We are just so filled with joy today and feel so blessed to be matched with this wonderful baby girl. We can't wait to hold her in our arms! The girls are excited to have a new sister and she will be so loved! Thanks to all our family and friends who have been so supportive during this seemingly endless wait. Can't wait for you to meet Ava in person!

Friday, August 28, 2009

10 Months (Almost)

On Monday, we will hit our 10 months of waiting. I really thought we would have received our referral by now. For some unknown reason, the referrals from our agency have slowed quite a bit. The courts in Ethiopia are closed from Aug 21-Oct 6, so we will have to wait until October to get a court date anyway. We just want to see Ava's little face!!!!!! I tried to take a picture of the waiting list that our group has made online. Not sure if you can actually read it, but our name is at the top of the list! I feel like Dory in "Finding Nemo"......instead of "just keep swimming", I keep saying to myself, "just keep waiting, just keep waiting!"
The estimated wait for a baby girl is 9-11 months and we are at 10 months, so it that referral has to be coming VERY SOON!

Monday, July 20, 2009

An Awesome Night!

Last week we bought tickets to see Serena Williams play team tennis for the Washington Kastles. We were all amazed as we watched her play. She is so powerful and her muscles are huge! After the match, we waited in line to get the players' autographs.......this was a moment the girls will remember forever!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We're moving up!

According the list we are keeping on our agency's Yahoo Group, the Jarvie family is #3 for a girl!!!!!!!!! The referrals have started up again and it's very possible that we could be getting our referral next month. This is so exciting for us........we can't wait to see a photo of Ava's little face!

The agency will call us to tell us we have a referral, so I will be carrying my cell phone with me everywhere I go. Then they will email the photos and medical info. We plan to videotape our family seeing the referral email. I'll post that on our blog as soon as that happens. Unfortunately, we can't post Ava's photos on our blog when we get the referral because she won't officially be our child until we pass court. We have one week to accept the referral. Once we accept, we wait for a court date. It can take a while to get a court date.

In the meantime, the kids are enjoying summer vacation!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Shots & Graduation Celebration

On Thursday, Bruce and I had our required shots for our trip to Ethiopia. We each had to have 6 shots and neither one of us are fans of shots, so it was a little stressful. That night we weren't feeling so great and by the next day, we felt awful. Glad we won't have to ever go thru that again. That same day Madeline graduated from Elementary school. Hard to believe she'll be starting middle school in September. Summer has officially begun!!!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

7 Months on the Wait List

Wow, we have now waited 7 months on the wait list and are getting closer to our referral! From what I can tell, we are #15 on the list of families and #8 for a girl (the other 7 families are waiting for boys, either a boy or girl, or siblings). Our agency matched so many families with referrals between January thru April. Unfortunately, in early May, the Ethiopian government stopped all adoptions of abandoned babies due to concern about corruption and adoption procedures. I am happy that the country is vigilant about conducting adoptions ethically. However, this has slowed the referral process drastically and I am not sure how this will affect us. We are still hopeful about receiving a referral this summer and since the courts will close August-October, we will have to wait for a court date in the fall. So, in the meantime, we continue to get ready for Ava. This month I painted a dresser and found some cute knobs at a little antique store nearby. Here's a photo of my handywork........this was my first piece of furniture that I have ever painted.....took about 4 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint, but I loved the way it turned out. Just looking forward to putting her little clothes in the drawers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

6 Months on the wait list

So we have made it to the 6 month mark and are anxious to see our daughter's photo in the next month or two. While we are excited about the adoption, we are also saddened by the unbelievable malnutrition that exists in Ethiopia. If you click on the photo below it will take you to a website where a wonderful man named Tom Davis has started a fundraising project to collect formula for the infants who are specifically at America World's transition house. Children are brought from the orphanage to the transition house once they have been referred to a family. Ava will be staying at this transition house for several months because our court date will probably be in October or November. The need for formula is so urgent! Although it would be great if you felt a desire to donate to the fund, my main purpose for including the website is so that you can really understand how dire the situation is there. We have met Duni (Ethiopia coorinator for America World) and we know she is doing everything in her power to saves these children's lives. She wrote a moving letter on the website.

Ethiopia Urgent Need

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This dog looks familiar!

So the Obama's have a Portuguese Water dog! Of course, we think they are the greatest dogs in the world........then again, we are a little biased since we have Nazare. Yea for Portuguese Water Dogs!!!! I am happy they are finally recognized and people will see what an awesome breed it is. Now maybe people will stop asking me if Naz is a poodle! Of course, I have to include a photo of Naz ( who looks very similar to Bo).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

5 months of waiting!

We have officially been on the wait list for 5 months! The time is flying by and I am thankful that it has. When we turned in our dossier last October, I wondered how I was going to wait so long to meet Ava, but now we are at the half way point or closer.

Another little tidbit of info I should share is that we expanded the age range by just a bit. Originally we had requested an infant up to 12 months and now we have expanded that to 18 months. That may not seem huge to people in the non-adoption world, but as I looked at the waiting list, I realized most families request children under the age of one. So what about those babies that may be over one, but still need forever families? My heart breaks for them and we all decided that maybe our Ava would be several months older than we originally planned. It adds a little suspense now...will she be tiny (3-9 months) or a little older? We should find out soon!

Our adoption agency has given out about 16-20 referrals this month and it's exciting to see our name move up the list. I think we are currently #29 overall (some families adopted siblings, so that's why my numbers from last month don't match up with this month). Since we have changed the age range we are #13 for a baby girl, but #5 for a girl up to 18 months. The other 8 families are requesting up to 12 months. I don't want to get too anxious, but if the agency keeps up this pace, we could receive a referral in the next few months.

We talk about Ava everyday and she has already become a part of our family. Her room is starting to look like a nursery......she has a crib, changing table, and dresser. We still need to hang some curtains and put the final touches on it, but my heart races everytime I walk into the room. I think about her......half-way around the world......not knowing about the family in Virginia who can't wait to meet her and love her forever.

Friday, February 27, 2009

She made it!

Yea! We are so excited that Claire made the high school tennis team! It's just one team (no JV or Varsity) and they only take 10 girls, so Claire is excited and relieved that she made it. This has been her goal for the last few years and all of those tennis clinics and lesson paid off. She gets her uniform today, so I'll post a photo of her soon. It's also Olivia's 7th birthday today, so what an exciting week we are having!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

4 Months on the Wait List!

This week marks 4 months that we have been on the official waiting list with our adoption agency. To keep my spirits up, I purchased this adorable shirt and necklace. The shirt is made by a friend of mine who has also adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia. It's hard to see in the photo, but the pink material has giraffes on it and then where Ethiopia is located, she put a little pink rhinestone. The necklace was purchased from another friend of mine who has adopted 2 girls from Ethiopia. The photo is blurry, but it says "Born in my heart". Just little reminders that Ava will be home with us soon.

Our agency is really moving with the referrals. They had 17 referrals in January and 11 so far this month. That puts us about #17 for a baby girl and #41 overall. So we are still on track for a referral this summer. We just have to hope and pray that Ethiopia's government continues to process and move the adoptions along. That is the slow down at the moment. We started this whole process last April and I honestly thought we would be traveling to Ethiopia this spring.......but that is not the case. We are now hoping to have her home before Christmas. They are now estimating 9-11 month wait once the dossier is turned in, so next month we will be at the half-way point.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let it Snow!

The kids have anxiously awaited the First Snow Day of this winter and today was our lucky day! We only have about an inch or two, but it was enough to make them want to put on snow pants, boots, coats and gloves. It is really pretty and if it's going to be cold, it might as well snow. So we celebrated the day by making waffles for breakfast. Everyone stayed in their jammies until noon and we enjoyed our "lazy day". Think we might get at least a delay tomorrow because they are expecting more snow and ice tonight.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Things have been pretty calm as we enter the New Year. It has been very cold (oh, how I miss the warm California weather). The kids keep hoping for a snow day, but so far it hasn't happened. Claire is getting her braces on in two weeks......she is NOT excited about this, but she will thank us when she's older.

Our adoption agency has given out 13 referrals already this month! This is great news and it means we move up the list and get a little bit closer to bringing Ava home. This is the most referrals they have had in one month and I am hoping this trend continues. From what I can tell from the informal list we keep, it looks like we are about 26th in line for an infant girl. But, keep in mind, we are bunched in there with other families adopting infant boys, toddlers and older children, so it make the wait longer. We are still hopeful to receive a referral by late summer.

The big inauguration is next week. So many people (from other states) have asked us if we are planning to go into DC to see it. Although we are only 30 miles from DC, getting there would be a nightmare. All of the major roads into DC are closed that day and the metro waits are expected to be at least 3 hours. They are expecting millions of people and it's just a little too scary for me to imagine all of us wandering around (trying to find food and bathrooms). So, we will be watching it like the rest of the country from our warm family room. The kids are out of school that day which is nice. We actually don't know anyone who is going in to see it. I have to admit, it's kind of cool to be living here when all of this history is taking place. Hope the kids remember it!