Sunday, June 27, 2010

Today's adventure

Our youngest son has been asking for some time what his sister is going to wear and where she is going to sleep. This puzzles him. I understand why. We live in a total boy house! There are no girl things anywhere around here. We have nothing pink. We have nothing purple or sparkling. This weekend marked the beginning of taking care of the troubling question. The change is underway and there is nothing like the color Paradise Pink to make three boys understand that their little sister really is on her way. They woke up with big smiles and squeals to the bubble gum dream room!

Between Bob cutting in the paint and my Dad rolling out the walls the the room is slowly being transformed. A second coat is still required and I must say it is bright. You know, pepto bright! Now we need to set up the crib and get the baby bedding made in order to begin pulling it all together. My close friend Beth came for a visit with her three precious girls last week to lend me her design eye. She's got talent and she gave me the thumbs up for all the fabric choices that I will soon ship off to a seamstress I found on Etsy. Gotta love the stuff people can do and the stuff they sell on Etsy. I plan to recover an old rocker that I used with all three boys and I may even try my hand at window treatments. Not yet sure on that one.

So today's big adventure was a trip to our local Babies R Us to set up a registry. We took all three boys and their comments and questions were nothing short of hysterical. They could not get over all the loot for babies. Owen found the butt paste and Hayden wanted us to register for the soothing baby spa. Carter cracked up in the nursing section and of course the potty seats and piddlers for potty training were a hit. The entire time we were there we just laughed. Of course some of the time we were a bit overwhelmed... it has been a while since we have done the baby scene but our time spent was such fun. The boys helped us pick out many items and it seemed to help familiarize them with what it takes to help raise a child. Every day we are getting closer to meeting her and we cannot wait to bring her home and into the arms of three amazing brothers whose lives will be forever enriched by us adding another child to our family but also in seeing that our hearts break for the plight of the orphan.

One more thing... We started collecting donations for the many needs of our orphanage in Ethiopia. If you wish to contribute or have a source for items listed please contact me. We greatly appreciate your generosity as we prepare for our first trip to Ethiopia.  Here is the list of needs:

For babies:
a) Diapers-most needed size- 2 and 3
b) Pull-ups
c) Simple board books
d) Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo
e) Lotions, baby oils and baby wash
f) Diaper rash cream—Desitin is the best, or whatever other kinds you think is a better protector of babies bottoms (Desitin ointment is stronger than the paste)
g) Baby Wipes
h) 4oz only AVENT Brand Bottles.
i) Organic flax seed—ground or oil form
j) Vegetable or soy based formula—HIGH NEED!
h) Milk-based formula
l) Hanging mobiles for cribs
Things for older children:
m) Shampoos and conditioners that are fortified for curly hair
n) Dandruff shampoos
o) Body soap
p) Bubbles, punch balloons, beach balls,orange outdoor play cones
q) Soccer balls and any gear- possibly deflated
  1. Body lotions
  2. Clothing for boys and girls between 4 and 16 years old and especially need pants and pajamas
t) Shoes including crocs, sneakers (these are especially good for the older boys to play soccer in), for 4 through 16 years old children (not cleats)
Medications and Supplies:
u) Q-Tips and Cotton Balls
v) Boxes surgical gloves-any size-(found in pharmacy section)
w) Adult Iron Tablets-over the counter
x) Infant and children Iron drops or pills-over the counter
y) Medicine for older children, all kinds-cough, cold, Advil, Tylenol, Maalox, etc.
z) Braun Thermometer Covers
aa) Multivitamins for babies with iron—liquid drops

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Headed to Africa!

We have a date! We have our first court date in Ethiopia on July 28, 2010. This is BIG! Both Bob and I hope to arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on or before July 25th so we can spend time with the little girl we have only known in our hearts. We will be able to spend time with her only at Hannah's Hope as she will not legally be our daughter. After we meet and spend time with Baby Strobel we will attend our court hearing where we will legally testify that she is the child we wish to have join our family. We will then have a couple more days to spend at Hannah's Hope before saying goodbye until we can return hopefully within four to six weeks to bring her home. We are hoping she will be on US soil by early September!

So far it looks like we will be traveling with four other families who have the same court date. Each of these families has gone through the same process we have been going through with our same adoption agency All God's Children International. We look forward to meeting the families from all around the country who have the same heart for adoption. Should be great fun to hear how and why they have chosen adoption for their respective families. Can't wait to meet them all!

Part of the travel for us we hope will include some outreach work. We sponsor a child through an outstanding organization called Children's Hopechest and we have recently begun to sponsor a twelve year old boy who is growing up in a boys home called Kolfe Boys Home and we are eager to meet him and bring many supplies to meet some of the basic hygiene and emotional needs of the boys. We are looking for a source for deflated soccer balls. Any ideas out there please contact me! We will also spend time just seeing the sites and meeting the people of Ethiopia. We look so forward to immersing ourselves in the charm and the culture of where our daughter is from. We want to take it all in so we can share it with her as she grows up. Her heritage is so important and we cannot wait to take her back to have her see what people say is such a gorgeous land.

We see visiting Ethiopia twice as a huge opportunity. We can collect and take many supplies to benefit our orphanage. The needs are basic and so vast. Below please find the list of items needed to sustain the many orphans at Hannah's Hope : If you feel compelled to donate just drop off anything. My front porch is always a good spot. We can also pick up any supplies if you may wish to donate. If you have any questions let us know.

It will be an exciting month of preparation for us around here but we are so glad to see this process moving along. We have been at this for two years and some days it did begin to feel like fiction. I will be making may calls to now find the best travel arrangements. We will be making plans for the best place for our boys to be while we are away. We will be gearing up to hold a little baby girl who needs a family. We continue to pray that soon she will be ours and we will be the parents of four, yes four beautiful little gifts from God. We are coming baby girl!

Donation Items needed for Hannah's Hope Orphanage:
-baby formula- soy or milk based- soy needed most!
-newborn diapers
-small board books/toys
-Avent bottles
-diaper rash cream
-pjs for 4 year olds
- crocs/ flip flops- gently used our fine
-cotton balls
-children's iron drops or vitamin drops
-children's medicine- Tylenol, Maalox, Advil
-cloth diapers
-pink and blue bath towels
-crib mobiles
-shampoos or conditioners for curly hair
-soap and deodorant for staff

Friday, June 18, 2010

Six weeks of waiting

You are growing and we cannot be there to see you. You are changing, learning, developing and we are wishing we could somehow be with you to hold and nurture you. Around here we are talking about you every day and the boys always refer to you as "their baby." I love hearing them chat about you and tonight in bed Owen was speaking your Ethiopian name with the sweetest little voice. You are here with us everyday even though you are an ocean and a continent away. You are in our thoughts always. You are in the thoughts of those in our community. You are on the hearts of family and friends who have patiently followed our journey to you. We pray for you and now we are preparing for you. We have lots to do to get ready for a darling little princess around here. Tonight we watched the most precious gotcha video and the boys could not stop remarking that soon that will be us. Just getting to you is our first big step. We need to hold you and whisper all that life has in store for you once you are home with us where you belong. The waiting is awful but I prayerfully trust that the Special Mothers are meeting your every need. I know they are loving you and that gives me some peace. It won't be long now and we will have our first travel date. Bring it on!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

wondering when the phone will ring

The house smells of bacon. There are crumpled papers everywhere that have come home in backpacks as my three have been cleaning out classrooms, desks and lockers yesterday. We have teacher's gifts ready to deliver and camp schedules are in place. Like it our not here comes summer break! This morning I find myself feeling relief that the school year is done after today. I feel great excitement about time with my kiddos. I just want them home and I want them to just be, sleeping in, taking in book after book, running around outside with their friends and exploring new opportunities through a few camps we have scheduled. Thier school is amazing but having them home this summer will feel like a gift. Here are the three little (actually they are not so little) loves I am referring to: They make my heart soar and they have helped me to realize that every day is nothing short of a gift from God.

It is the last day of school and my last morning of quiet for a while. Dad made a big last day of school breakfast and we will celebrate tonight of course after C's baseball game. Today we have all the end of the year parties and I am headed into the classroom to give the 2nd graders a big send off. We will watch the 4th graders run from the building with a giant eagerness to attend a new school next year for fifth grade. Wow what a day! My Kindergartener will become a grader and my middle guy will be the oldest holding down the fort at the elementary school. It's a BIG DAY!

In the middle of it all we are wondering each and every day when our phone is going to ring? 
When will our agency call to let us know that Baby Strobel does in deed have a birth certificate waiting for review at court? When the bc arrives we should hear about dates to get this show on the road. New to the two trip policy is now a new two court process. First for the birth family and then the second court date will require us to travel, meet our baby girl (FINALLY) and head to court to become her legal guardians.   We are learning new ways to get through this as we go. I am trying hard to be patient but I really do feel ready to take photos of four children. We want to bring her home and be the family who are meeting all her needs. The wait is tough but we are seeking patience as we know God's hand is in all of this.

So I rush off to school this morning to celebrate the very last day and the start of summer break. We look forward to adding one more to our wild and chaotic lives. I watched the boys hold, love on and take care of my one year old nephew this past weekend. It was a little slice of heaven to see them caring for him in such a gentle and loving way.
So now we say bring on the phone call and let's get our court date and get busy making plans to make our way to the daughter of our hearts.
We love you baby girl and we will be there soon!

Into Our Arms Forever!

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welcome home ava! from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Meeting Ava during our first trip to Ethiopia

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Meeting Ava Ethiopia Trip July 2010 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Korah- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

During our recent visit to Ethiopia I felt very called to the village of Korah in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. There have been numerous rumblings lately about the tremendous need to help the children of Korah who are growing up in and around the local trash dump. The village was established 75 years ago as a place to send people with leprosy who were said to be cursed. Now there is a 3rd generation of people living in Korah with nearly 100,000 suffering from such things as leprosy, HIV, misc disease and of course malnutrition. There are many children of Korah who have been forced to live and work at the trash dump in hopes of finding food and possible items to sell in Korah's center of town. With the start of the Great Hope Church in Korah and the building of a shelter, along with the ministry of local Sammy Liben and Sumer Yates, there is now a feeding program and a sponsorship program in place to rescue the forgotten children of Korah and send them to boarding school where they can escape the horror of the conditions of living and working in a large trash dump. For more information please visit: or where you can learn more about how you or your organization can help the people and the children of Korah. Please send me a message or email Erin Allen at to request sponsorship information. I will soon be posting the photos of my day recently spent in Korah. I must tell you it was life changing and beyond anything I have ever done to stretch, change and rearrange myself. God helped me to help the people who I met. Much of what I could offer was nothing more than the snap of my camera or a warm touch or an inviting smile. The needs in Korah are beyond our wildest imagination yet God is over Korah and there is already amazing work being done. I invite you to view the following videos to learn more about the beauty and the needs of Korah's people.


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Hannah's Hope Orphanage- Ethiopia

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