Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A year ago today we arrived home with our baby girl. She has grown leaps and bounds, in stature and personality. She is still sugar and a whole lot of spice! Tonight we had injera - pancake style. Ethiopian restaurants are no where to be found here in Panama City and I wasn't about to tackle the culinary skill of Ethiopian cooking just yet, so....we did a kid friendly compromise - PANCAKES! No utensils required. We tore a piece of pancake and used it to scoop our decadent cuisine. This consisted of blueberries, whipped cream, nutella, peanut butter and syrup. The kids were in "Pancake Injera" heaven! 
Hadi Girl - You have been a blessing to our family. You definitely keep us on our toes. (I had a glass of wine to celebrate making it through the year too!) We thank God for being home with you. You complete our family!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blessed this Mother's Day

I thought it was appropriate to FINALLY update our blog on this very special Mother's Day.  I was treated like a queen ALL day!  When I awoke this morning I felt extra blessed to spend this Mother's Day with our daughter Hadi.  She is  sugar and definitely SPICE.  I was then quickly reminded of Hadi's birth mom.  Hadi would not be here if it wasn't for her.  I will be forever grateful for the eternal sacrifice she gave in order to give Hadi life on this earth.  Mother's Day has a whole new meaning for me this year.  Thank you God for producing good out of something really difficult.  I am blessed.

Here are a few pics below of what we have been up to!

This picture was taken by my dear friend Tracy.

These two pics are of Hadi and Kaylee's first birthday.  Kaylee was adopted from China 2 months after Hadi.  Stacie is one of my wonderful friends here in Panama City.  They happen to live 2 houses down from us!  Kaylee and Hadi have a birthday one week apart.  God divinely planned for us to be here going through the process at the same time!!

By far, Hadi's favorite thing to do is play with WATER.  She is officially OBSESSED!

Jon, Trevor and Luke - I love these boys with ALL my heart!

Jon Jon can't get enough of Hadi...she has 3 smitten brothers.

Evidence of the SPICE!

Here is just a snapshot of the craziness of our lives.  We are truly blessed by our precious ones.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  Adoption is definitely a journey before and after but it is one well worth traveling.  Hope this blog update finds you abundantly blessed!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Life is full!

We have been busy this last month. We went on a last minute trip to Colorado after Christmas. We got to spend a lot of time with family. It was especially awesome to meet Kelel and Seniat who were in the same care center as Hadi in Ethiopia. Pretty awesome story. Kelel and Seniat very much remember Hadi. We spent an evening celebrating with some injera, a staple in Ethiopian cuisine.

Enjoying a day of skating in Daddy's old stomping ground....the USAFA ice rink.

We also celebrated Hadi's 1st birthday while we were attending a wedding in Atlanta. She loved the cake right after her first swim in a swimming pool!

Hadi and her GIRL cousin Aly!

Hadi and Emily...finally some built in girlfriends in our family!

Here is a pic of my boys wearing the jersey of their favorite player and great role model...Tim Tebow!

Overall, things have gone really well. We are blessed by family and friends who have supported us on this journey. The question I get most often is, "How are the boys doing?" They are GREAT...they smother...I mean, love, her with all of their hearts. They are still understanding the whole meaning of adoption and everything that goes with that. Just the other day and actually, just now, Jon asked, "Mom, when Hadi grows up will she speak Spanish?" Ummmmm?!?! Luke asked driving to church yesterday, "Are we going to keep our sister?" I think in his 3 year old mind he thinks this is a trial basis sometimes and we are trying her out for the right fit. So innocent and very honest. Adoption is something that doesn't feel natural in our human sense but it is so completely supernatural. We rely on God to grow the bond through our hearts. It is a process but it has truly begun and we are thankful! She is a blessing! (And really LOUD....I didn't realize squealing/screaming was part of the girl make-up...I'm pretty sure I NEVER did this as a child)
That's all for now...promise to update more frequently.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year & Off to Colorado

I vaguely remember myself saying as we got off of our last flight from picking up Hadi..."I'm not going anywhere for a LONG time." Well, it seems we just couldn't go much longer without feeling the mountain air and seeing the beautiful peaks of Colorado. We are leaving tomorrow to fly home and introduce Hadi to our family there. Should be a wonderful time with family and friends! We are especially excited to meet Kelel & Seniet and reunite all the kids.

Hadi continues to be such a great little girl. Her brothers love her so much and are attentive to her every need. They've shown me they can respond quickly when I ask them to get something for her or get her out of her crib. Wish I could figure out how to make willingly help with everything else around the house!! Here are a few pics from Christmas.

So sweet...

Hadi is a smart one...she high-tailed it out of there when the wrestling began!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome Kelel and Seniet!

Just to update you...our cousin and family are home safe and sound. This is a picture of their precious family. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as the transition is very challenging coming home. Welcome home Nilsen family!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our crazy life...

I wanted to upload a few pics of before and after we left for Africa...give you a taste of our crazy life. It is definitely full!

Fall Fun

Jacksonville Jaguars Game

Jon's 5th Birthday - Jil-leia, Chewy & ScObi Wan Kenobi came too!
Fighting Darth Vader
Big 5 Year Old

AFTER AFRICA - (OBVIOUSLY) - My first go at Pig tails

Happy Girl after bath

This is what the counter looks like at after finding out we had giardia!

Merry Christmas World!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Home 2 weeks

We wanted to check in with everyone and update you on week 2 of being together as a family of six. To be honest, the first week was hard...really hard. Many times I just felt stuck and overwhelmed. Although, just as the sun comes up every morning, God's mercies on us (and my sanity) were renewed. It was a mixture of so many parts making our transition lighter with each day. We reflected on this during our small group this past weekend. Can we do life without community? The more I think about it and the more I live it, I say NO!

From family taking care of our kids to the many meals provided by friends and the prayers of our faithful family in Christ to the texts, emails and phone calls of support....WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED. God created the Body with many parts. Pride would infect us if we were allowed to do it on our own. We are mean't to do life together. Thank you for fulfilling one of Christ's greatest commands of loving your neighbor. We only hope we can do the same when it comes to your story.

1 Corinthians 12:27
"Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

This is a picture of our family and friends who came to the airport to see Hadi finally coming home. I can't help but think how lonely this picture would look if it was only me, Scott and Hadi. Look at the smiles, the tears, the cheers and the families huddled to together...we are stronger, more powerful and honestly, way more fun when we do life side by side, crying and rejoicing with each other. Thank you for this reminder...we will cherish it forever (and thank you Jonathan for capturing it).
Hadi's Welcoming Committee (AKA - The Body)
Photograph by Jonathan Gibson