Friday, July 3, 2015

Ethiopia Trip One, Day Two: Church and More Bradley

Our second full day in Ethiopia started out with church. AMAZING.

 We arrived one hour before the actual service started so that we could attend the prayer meeting. It was so beautiful. I have no idea what was being said, but I saw men and women truly crying out to God. 
 And it was so incredible to be able to pray for our boy in a church in his home country. 
An added bonus was that this particular Sunday was Holy Communion. 
What a gift to experience this reminder of God's sacrifice that allowed my adoption into His family while we were there to adopt our own son. 
Beautiful. 

After church, we went to Woudneh's house for lunch. {Woudneh is our agency's in-country director.} It was delicious, and we were able to enjoy time with another adoptive who was in Ethiopia for court, as well. Then it was back to the hotel to change and off to see our boy. 

 Day two with our precious fella! 
 Hanging on to his daddy. 
 Smiling for mommy. 
 And here is my favorite picture of the two of us. 
 Look at that sweet face! 
 Checking out that great big world out there. 
 My two greatest loves. 
 Seriously, though. 
Look at these two guys! 
 Bradley is attaching so well to his dad. 
 Bradley and Bea! 
I love how much she loves him! 
 And half of this picture is missing. 
Do you know why? 
Because I am holding the son of one of my dearest friends. 
That's right! My boy and her boy LIVE IN THE SAME ROOM. 
And now they will grow up knowing each other. 
 Party time with Bea! 
 Look at these two studs! 
 I think they are going to be best buds. 
 Just checking each other out. 
 And getting some sweet little smiles. 
 This might be my favorite picture in the history of photography. 
 We made a little photo album of our family for Bradley. 
 And he loved it! 
 Especially the pictures of Daisy. 
 He just kept grinning and giggling. 
 And then he tried to eat it. 
Delicious. 
I just love this little boy with my whole heart. 

More to come soon about the rest of our week! 

With love, 
Baylor 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ethiopia Trip One, Day One: Meeting Bradley

This day I am about to share with you is one of the most longed-for days of my entire life. The day when we would FINALLY hold our son. To say that we were nervous would be an enormous understatement. Our lives had been building toward this moment for years, and now here we were. But Bradley didn't know that. We were strangers to him, and I was so nervous that he would be afraid of us. That he would scream his head off the entire time we were with him, which would have been totally understandable from his little 11 month old point of view. I had my small group girls praying for this very moment, and it was now upon us. So we cast our fears aside and on 45 minutes of sleep in the last 24 hours, we set out to meet our son.

I warn you, picture overload is about to happen, and for that I make NO apologies.

And now we will walk back through the happiest day of my life so far.

Enjoy, dear friends.

 Changed, ready and in the van. 
We are really about to do this. 
 Lots of quiet on the drive over. 
Taking in Ethiopia and trying to quell our nerves. 
 We're here! 
Waiting downstairs while they get him ready. 
We came at nap time. Oops. 
 Our darling, wonderful translator, Tizita. 
I cannot say enough good things about her. She was with us every step of the way and provided so much encouragement all while answering our twenty million questions. 
OK. Nerves are seriously setting in. 
How much longer do I have to stand here when my son is in this same building? 
 I don't know what's happening here. 
Probably, my dear husband told me a joke to keep me from losing it. 
He pulled the same trick on our wedding day. So if you saw me giggling at the altar, that's why. 

We walk in and there he is. 
Let me say that again: 
THERE HE IS. 
And I take his hand. 
 Give him his first kiss from his mom. 
{Also, please note that he is not, in fact, screaming his head off.}
And then, because I know ZERO Amharic, I make the universal gesture for, "Can I hold this baby?" 
 His sweet nanny gives me a nod. 
And just like that, 
 I'm holding my son. 
 The English language does not have the right words for me to explain this moment to you. 
But I will say this, I could not love this child any more than I do. He is, without a doubt, my son. Holding him felt right. He belongs with us. 
I have been and will continue to be amazed by God's sovereignty and His goodness. He did not just bring us a child. He brought us our child. Of that I am certain. 
 And then he gets his first look at his daddy, the man who has prayed battle prayers to get to him. 
 We get a thumbs up. 
And he is just taking it all in. 
 Knott: Party of Three 
 His precious little face. 
 We cannot get enough of it. 
 Clearly. 
And I think I must have kissed him a thousand times over the span of two hours. 
 Sweet, sweet baby. 
 Then the nannies surprised us by letting me feed him. 
 We were both just in a state of disbelief. 
 Everything I love, all in one place. 
 Then we got to take him downstairs for a good bye celebration for a little girl who was going home with her mom that day. It was such a precious event. Each of this children drew her a picture and gave it to her, along with a kiss good bye. There was singing and dancing and cake. Watching these children say good bye to a friend really brought home for me the reality that while adoption is a beautiful thing, there is true sadness that accompanies it. When it is Bradley's turn to have this celebration, he will be leaving his home, his friends and the women who have cared for him up till now. It is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and I pray that we will always honor his birth country and these special people well. 
 Some face time with mom. 
 He already has my heart. 
 Attempted family picture. 
Clearly, I am preoccupied. 
 My heart. 
 Meeting his namesake! 
Two Bradleys are better than one. 
I am so thankful for my darling dad and the sacrifice he made to come on this trip with us. There is no other man we would rather have our son strive to be like as he grows. Thank you, Dad, for being a noble and honorable man. I cannot wait to watch you with little Bradley. 
And Bea! 
She got the first smile out of him while we were there, and I think it was the perfect start to a beautiful relationship in which she will love him and spoil him rotten. I feel good about it. And that dear mom of mine was our photographer for our whole week in Ethiopia. I think she took every single picture except this one. Thank you, Mom, for running this race with us from day one and for so beautifully capturing this incredible week of moments. 

 This little man is loved more than he will ever know. 
The three Knotts. 

With deep love, 
Baylor 
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