Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So now we get ready to travel - we leave on March 6th (at 4 in the morning) and will return on March 16th, having spent an extra day in Ethiopia. Maybe we'll meet a few of the next batch of families... Hmmm...


We got the call this morning from Anna and we passed! They got the papers they needed and everything went smoothly, no problems this time. So....

Welcome to the Hall Family, Sintayehu Ephraim! Sintayehu means "How much have I seen" which is very appropriate for him! Maybe it should mean big climber, since he wants to be in everything!

Those arms trying to catch him belong to Rob Tennant, I think. Good work, Rob! Sintayehu was trying to get onto the changing table while Henry was being changed...wait your turn, little man. :)

This picture lets me know he's a good eater. He's eating in several of the pictures we have. Wonder if he likes chicken nuggets...

He seems to love balls and cars. Great!! We've got tons of those! :)

See? Climbing again...he'll be a handful. A handful that I can't wait to have home! I'm so happy today I can't stand it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Church Services

We attended an Ethiopian church service this morning and it was amazing. First off, finding the building was no easy feat. It's southeast of town on gravel roads with no real visible signs to guide the way until you can see the building. So it took us a couple passes before we found the parking lot.

As we were getting out of our car, about five Ethiopian kids wandered over and were talking in very soft voices.

"Who are they?" says one little boy.

"I don't know," answers a girl.

"Where are they from?"

"I don't know."

"Hey...who are you?" the first little boy asks quite bravely. "There's no white people in there."

I start smiling, since he didn't say it rudely, just a matter of fact. "We're Marc and Stephanie and we're adopting a little boy from Ethiopia," I answer. "Can we go in?"

"Yes," they all answer, and lead us inside. One little girl gets us a bulletin and asks if we want two or if we're going to share. And another little girl asks if we speak Amharic. I told her I only know the word toilet and she grins and says she'll teach me.

We can hear singing from the church itself and so we walk in and sit down, sort of toward the back. There are about ten people in the sanctuary and two men and a woman are up in the front singing. They sing for an HOUR. I'm not kidding, it was amazing. They just kept singing and the leading man wiped sweat from his brow several times. They sang and sang and sometimes others would join in. And people kept coming in until there were about forty or so people in the room. They were mostly standing, swaying, singing, clapping, and occasionally making that ululation (the women) that I learned in belly dancing. I didn't have the guts to do it myself, though.

After they were done speaking, Pastor Bekele began speaking and he said, in English, that anyone new (and he looked straight at us) should stand up and introduce ourselves so they could welcome us. So we did, and we explained we are adopting a little boy from Ethiopia and would like to bring him to worship sometimes. They were all very pleased with that idea and Pastor commented that maybe we would manage to learn a new language so we could get more out of the service.

Marc said he heard the Pastor ask for an interpretor, though I didn't hear it, and after about five minutes a man came and sat by us and began to translate what the Pastor was saying into English. His name was Joshua and he did a wonderful job.

The sermon was all about the Hope of God. So I learned two new Amharic words: Xabio (spelling might be off...God) and Tesfai (Hope). How did God know I needed a sermon about hope today? And having it delivered in a different language, one that my son has learned, was absolutely amazing. I was so incredibly touched.

Even had Joshua not been translating, Pastor Bekele was fascinating to watch. He walked all over the front of the church, gesturing and laughing and interacting with the congregation, much different than anything I was used to. I could see the love and the belief just pouring off him. It was really a spiritual experience.

I look forward to taking our son back to the Ethiopian Fellowship Church so we can worship together. Maybe I'll learn more words next time!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


So Patty tells me that she'll trace his feet when she's in Ethiopia. So I'm thinking it'll be a pencil drawing of a foot (like what Dagny does with her crayons) and low and behold, I get an envelope today...

It's not a pencil drawing. She put paint on the bottom of his feet and one of his hands and I have red footprints with a red handprint on a piece of paper.

You have no idea how that felt. I started to cry. My son had touched the paper I was holding and here was proof - his small feet, his hand, right there for me to see. I hung it on the refridgerator and I think I might frame it.

My heart is so full today. Court is in four days, on Wednesday...just put some prayers out there for us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shoe Donation

So one of the first pictures I saw of our son had him in two different shoes that not only did not match, they were different sizes. This stuck with me and bothered me enough that I decided our donation to the Transition Home would be shoes. So I put a note in the bulletin at church and asked at Dagny's preschool if they could send a note home with the kids that we needed shoes of all sizes to take to Ethiopia.

The response was overwhelming!

My living room has four boxes of shoes, with still a few more pairs from other families coming. I can't believe it. There are tiny shoes for newborns, and shoes for teenagers, and all the sizes inbetween. People gave us nearly 200 pairs of shoes. I am not exagerating. It's just amazing.
Not only did we get shoes, but friends from church gave us a suitcase to carry them in. It's a very old suitcase, it's seen better days, but it will work and the family asked that we just leave it there (which is great - we don't have to carry it back!) It looks big in this picture, but wait until you see the next one...

Yeah, the kid fits in the suitcase. Easily and with room to spare, actually, and she's almost 40 inches tall! I'm hoping we can fit all the shoes in there and then just pay a surcharge for an overweight bag. Cross your fingers!

I can't believe the response we got. It filled my heart with joy to see that people wanted to give to these kids who are in such desperate need. In fact, the piles of shoes in my house make me cry because they're a testament to the human spirit. We WANT to care for each other, we just need someone to lead the way.