Sorry...for no updates...coming soon

o.k. so I have been a little tardy in getting my blog updated...it is for good reason...see picture.

We are doing wonderful and I am like the happiest mom in the world. I have been working on our video from our trip and should have it completed and posted in the next week - hopefully. Just so you didn't think we fell off the face of the earth here are a few shots of our new angel.



Pictures of Sam

Wanted to share a few close ups of our sweetie!

Home Sweet Home

We woke up on Easter morning with our whole family together...it was so wonderful. I have so much to share in regards to our trip but was not able to access blogger while we were gone. I will catch up soon (hopefully) and post the pics but it is time for Sam to have a bottle in about 5 minutes and he does not like to wait....


Ready or not...here we go

It is Friday night and I am almost ready. Cole has gone on a trip with my family (to see UT beat Ohio State and advance in the NCAA tournament). Caroline has gone to my mom's house and Brooke, Russ and I are getting those last minute things done and packed. All the care packages I am taking arrived so they are all packed in case anyone didn't get confirmation from me that I received theirs. I have been very anxious and overwhelmed throughout the day but now feel a bit of peace....actually I can't wait to go to bed so that tomorrow will be here faster. I am going to try and update our blog as often as is possible with details of our trip. We fly home on Saturday, April 3rd at 5:45pm...would love to see everyone and have you meet Samuel Hayes Connelly!


48 hours to takeoff...

It is Thursday afternoon and we have our airline tickets, our housing arrangements, Russ got his last shot and the kids and I got back from Florida a few hours ago. I don't know how to explain this week. I have so much emotion that I could burst into tears at any minute but they are tears of joy. If I think about having him in my arms the flood gates open, I know it will be just like when the doctors put my children in my arms for the first time. You have waited so long, endured many hardships and then the miracle happens....your child is in your arms to be part of you for the rest of your life. I am ready and happy and anxious and edgey and so many other things.....I even feel bad for my husband and children at home with me. The funny thing is I have not packed one thing....now remember when I left for Florida on Thursday I thought I wasn't traveling until May or April at the earliest. So tonight will be a very busy time at the Connelly home. I will pack Brooke, Russ and me for Ethiopia and pack Cole and Caroline for their grandparents. We are so lucky to have our families so close by to help. My parents are taking the kids half the time and Russ' parents the other half.

I do have a prayer request for Sam....they let me know that he is showing signs of pneumonia again and he has started an IV again. Please pray for his health and our safe travels. I hope to update the blog from Ethiopia if at all possible.


Praise God! Sam is coming home...

God is so good and we are so blessed!! We received a call from our travel coordinator (Kristen) this morning and she had very good news for us. The investigation by the US Embassy is complete and they are ready to process the paperwork for Sam to come home. The next appt. that our agency has is next Wednesday....that's right in one week +2 days. Kristen told us that if we could work it out to travel this weekend that we could go. I went to work right away making sure Russ' work schedule could be cleared and that we could get airline tickets. My first email back from the travel agent said that all flights were booked and that it looked nearly impossible but there was a chance that she could get us moved from a wait list hold to a confirmed ticket and hours later she had it done. So we are most likely leaving Saturday morning the 27th and returning Saturday evening April 3rd. I say most likely only because Kristen was wanting to receive final confirmation and should tomorrow morning.

On a side note...because we did not think we were traveling the kids and I left out yesterday for Florida and are not scheduled to go home until Thursday. That will give me 48 hours to pack the three of us and get my two kids who are staying home situated for a week. We have been off from school for 2 weeks and they start back on Monday. My mind is racing a million miles a minute but I am smiling so much my face hurts. I have always told my mom that I like that my life is a bit crazy and boy will the next few weeks be crazy!!

Will keep you updated and thanks so much for all your prayers....they are felt and are working.


Oops...here are the pics

New Pictures and prayer request!

We received new pictures from the sweet family that delivered care package #3. Sam is growing fast and from his serious look you can tell he is ready to come home:) It is such a blessing to have families take goodies to your child and even more a blessing to receive photos and see that he is doing well. We sent care package #4 today....of course I was hoping that we would be delivering this one ourselves but that was not the plan.

I received an email from our family coordinator today and Sam is sick again. He has an upper respiratory infection and pink eye. Apparently there are several children in the transition home that are sick. Please pray for healing and strength ...and yes that his momma will get to nurse him back to health soon, soon, soon.

I also spoke with the travel coordinator today and there has not been one bit of new information on our case. Frustration x 100!! She is hoping that by this time next week they will have at least gotten an update on our case but there is no guarantee. My emotions seem to go from being at peace with the process to wanting to just fly over there, bring Sam home and deal with the "stuff" later. Just not positive that forgiveness over permission is an option.

There has been lots going on in our family to keep me from focusing just on our travel. My sweet son Cole turned 10. Yes, I have two children in the double digits. The kids have started their two week spring break and we just got back from Wilderness at the Smokies which is an indoor water park. There were 19 of us and only 8 of those were adults. We are headed to the beach this coming Sunday and will stay through the following Thursday. All of this is so much fun and I am so thankful for the fun times but of course we thought we would be in Ethiopia this week so it is still a bit hard.

We have also spent some time at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. My niece Blake who was born one week before we received our referral was hospitalized with bronchiolitis. She was in the hospital for 10 days and although she was an absolute angel and perfect patient it did cause quite a bit of worry for all of us. Her mom is incredible and honestly hardly left her side which left daddy to care for Jax which included a stomach bug in the middle of one of the nights. I ask for your prayers for her too....it is likely that she is going to have heart surgery sometime in the next 6-8 weeks. We want her well but sure would like a miracle to happen and her not to have to have the surgery. If she does, we pray for her, the surgeons and the recovery.

That is a brief recap of things going on in the wacky world of the Connelly's. We thank God for each day we have, each person we have been given the opportunity to love and look forward to serving Him every day.


Small steps

Got a call from America World today and our paperwork has finally made it through the system and will be submitted to the Embassy tomorrow. This is not a step that normally would be reported on but with all the delays and the issues with the Embassy not issuing visas it has become a big deal. Now the Embassy will have the paperwork on our case and can at least start the investigations and hopefully in a week or two give us tentative travel dates again. Our agency is still saying it will be mid-May though.

I did read on another persons blog that they had received TTDs and they passed court the same week we did. They are with a different agency so it doesn't mean that we will follow their timeline but they are going to be able to travel in April......and a mom can hope can't she! Hoping to get more pictures from a family that just got home this past weekend. As soon as I receive them I will post.


Two more pics of our precious Sam

These pictures of Sam were taken on or around February 22nd. He is 4 months old.

Update on Sam

We received our February update on Sam yesterday with three new pictures. He is so adorable and seems very happy. He is now 13 lbs and 24 inches. He is taking 7 bottles a day (2 at night) and is holding his head up on his own. He has 9 different nannies that care for him and he has completely recovered from his pneumonia....thank you all for your prayers!

It was so exciting to get the update on Sam but we also found out that we will not be traveling on March 13th and that it looks like it could possibly be as late at mid May. I can't put into words how incredibly disappointed I am...and frustrated....and sad. God's timing is perfect and it will be perfect when we have Sam in our arms but in my humanness it is so hard not knowing what that timing is!! I think about Sam all the time especially at night because I know that is when he is awake. I wake up and shoot up a little prayer for him throughout the night and hope that someone is loving on him and kissing him at that very moment. I so bad want to just fly over and love on him for a few days and then come back and wait for when we can go pick him up for good but Russ does not think that is a good idea. I am pretty sure he thinks that either I will not come home or I will try to sneak him in my bag and bring him with me:) He knows me well.

So I am going to try to continue to have faith that we will be with Sam soon, hope that it is sooner rather than later and love for him that is not measurable.


A Week of Wonder(ing)

I wonder how long it will be until we get to hold Sam, I wonder how big he is and how he is feeling. I wonder if we are going to travel on the 13th. I wonder, I wonder I wonder and for those of you who know me I really like to know these things:) To catch everyone up....we received tentative travel dates early last week. On Thursday our paperwork got submitted to the embassy but then on Friday the embassy sent out a message that all adoptions were potentially going to be delayed due to further investigations. There was a story that aired on CBS on Feb.15th that was about unethical practices with Ethiopian adoptions which has started the Embassy looking into each adoption further. The news report was about a different agency than ours and there were some questionable reporting but it seems to be affecting all adoptions. I definitely want everything to be on the up and up for all adoptions but I also really want my baby!!!

When I spoke with our agency on Monday they did not know how it might affect our travel group but that I might be o.k. since our paperwork was sent on Thursday before the decision to stop issuing visas. But now it is Wednesday night and I still have not heard from our agency. I have called and sent emails but no word. The tickets we reserved are only on hold through tomorrow and I really don't know what to do. I knew there would be some question and risk but with this new situation I am not particularly wanting to book tickets and incur change fees, incr. rates, etc. if they already know for a fact that no visas will be given.......ugh.....lil frustrating. Part of my heart is still hoping that maybe we get to travel on the 13th but my head is preparing for an 8 WEEK DELAY.

I hope the Embassy lets our agency know something soon and then that the word gets to all the families waiting quickly....

Would love your prayers,


God's Healing Power

Thank you all so much for your prayers, comments and concerns about Sam's health. I am overjoyed to report that we received the following email from America World yesterday...

Dear Connelly Family,

As our transition home did not have power or internet yesterday, we have received a health update on Bezakulu today. I wanted to pass along the information that Bezakulu is done with all medication and doing well! Have a great day!

As excited as I have been about passing court and getting travel dates my heart has been heavy in regards to how my sweet boy is feeling and doing. I am now smiling ear to ear and walking on air!

Next step is flight itinerary...hoping to receive this today!

I have to tell everyone that this has been the most incredible process and although not always easy or stress free it has strengthened my faith, shown me God's love and given me an incredible joy. I love being a mom and can't wait to have Sam in my arms!!!!!


Tentative Travel Plans

We did not receive an update on Sam's health today but we did receive a picture and note from another family that is in Ethiopia that took our care package and we received our tentative travel dates. Assuming we can get an appointment with the consulate and that the correct documents get there we will travel on March 13th!!!!!!! I am so excited and have already faxed back the documents AWAA needs to get the ball rolling. I can't believe I might hold my sweet boy in less than a month!


He's Ours!!! Samuel Hayes Bezakulu Connelly

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! We passed court!!!!!!!!!! What a long couple of days...ever since we found out Sam was sick I have been very worried and anxious and knew that there was a very good chance court would not go well and that we might be delayed in getting Sam home. They say that 50% of cases don't pass but lately on the adoption blog it seems like a greater percentage than that. We were one of the fortunate few that did pass and I am more than thankful. Anna said that we should get a report on Sam's health tomorrow so I am praying that he is feeling better. It may be about 6 weeks until we travel to Ethiopia but will find out more in a week.

We have had so many wonderful people praying for Sam lately and I appreciate it SO much. Your prayers mean the world to our family and there is no way to Thank you each enough. The power of prayer..........it is so incredible.

Now to the part you really wanted to see in the first place..........Sam's pictures!!!!
The first picture is one we received 2 weeks ago from Kara who was kind enough to deliver a care package and send pictures. The other two are the pictures we received from America World when they called with the referral.


Our sweet boy is sick

We received a call today from our family coordinator that our son Sam is very sick. He has pneumonia and is being treated with oxygen and three medicines. My heart is aching and I feel sick to my stomach. I can't believe he is so sick and I am so far away! I ask for your prayers for healing and for the doctors who are caring for him. I pray that he knows how loved he is and that we are coming after him as soon as we can.


Babies R Us

Wow...there is so much to check out at a baby store now. It has been six years since I was buying baby items and I was so overwhelmed. I was at the store for one hour and only made it through the first six aisles. I did have fun though and even bought 12 new bottles and three boxes of wipes (I didn't make it to the diaper aisle). I also sent off Sam's second care package to a family that leaves this Friday. It is a little over a week until our court date and I am telling everyone I see and asking for their prayers.....asking for yours too.


Court Date Assigned!!

We received our court date today....it is February 16th, which is actually the night of the 15th for us. I ask for your prayers that our case will be heard that day and that we will receive a favorable decision. Only 50% of cases pass on the first court hearing....so we will need everyone's prayers! This is the next step in bringing Sam home and it was such a nice surprise to find out that the date was not too far off.

We also received a new picture of our sweet son. A family that is in Ethiopia this week picking up their daughter took a care package for us and then sent this picture which was such a wonderful blessing....he looks so happy. Wish I could post a picture but until we pass court they will not allow us to. I am going to be sending another care package to a family that is traveling over Valentine's Day.

I love Sam so much already and eagerly, anxiously, excitedly await having him in my arms...I may never let him down.


No court date yet, but...

Sam is on our minds all day everyday. I am so anxious to get additional information about him and pictures of him. Our agency allows families that are traveling before us to take care packages and take pictures of our son for us. We have a very sweet person, Kara, who is doing this for us and she leaves for Ethiopia this coming Friday! We will also receive monthly updates from the agency in regards to Sam's weight, measurements and current pics. We are even allowed to send 5 questions to have answered in that monthly update.

Our next big step is getting assigned a court date. We have not received that yet but are hopeful it won't be too much longer. Then the big deal is that we are able to pass court on the first try.

Until then we are getting ready here. We finally decided to rearrange rooms a bit and put Cole in the bonus room and give Sam Cole's room. Cole is pretty fired up because the playroom has a basketball goal, pool table and pretty big TV.....not a bad setup for a ten year old boy. About a week ago I ordered a crib, changing table and "armoire type" piece and it all came in today. I am so excited to get everything put together and get Sam's room ready for him. All of this helps to make it seem more real and like it won't be long.

I read the following on a person's blog and loved it so much I wrote it down and wanted to share it on my blog....

God writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with his own great hand He begins to write the script... Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed.

It is through so many seemingly ordinary days and events that my awesome God has led me to this sweet blessing of being a mom to Sam.

A little recap...

Our Timeline to Ethiopia…

In January of 2009 Russ and I first discussed the idea of adoption and my feeling called to adopt
In February, March and April Russ and I both spent time in prayer trying to determine if this is what God had planned for our family. It was also during this time that we became more and more drawn to Africa and specifically Ethiopia.
In May we decided this was what God was calling us to do and we took a leap of faith and began the process.
June and July were spent gathering more paperwork than you can imagine.
On August 20, 2009 our paperwork had been signed off on by the American government (Hilary Clinton specifically), was translated and sent to the Ethiopian government. This date is called your DTE date and becomes “your place in line on the waiting list”.
On November 19th we received an email to let us know that we were “on deck” which basically means getting near the top of the list and to be prepared for a referral in the next 1-3 months.
Our next step will be to receive our Referral. A referral is when a specific child is matched with our family and we find out who he is! We will be given a name, approximate age, medical information and any history that is known. We have requested a boy under the age of 2 and the agencies and Ethiopian government have that information when making a match for our family.
Once we receive a referral………we still have to wait. We will wait to be assigned a court date. The court appointment is in Ethiopia and our agency goes on our behalf. It generally takes 6-8 weeks after referral to receive a court date. If we pass on our court date (about 65% of cases pass on the first time) then we will be given our travel dates. Generally these are 3-4 weeks after passing court.
We will go to Ethiopia to pick up our son and will spend one week in the country. We will travel with a group and will be with people from our adoption agency the whole time.
January 12th was a BIG day. We received our referral for a beautiful 2 month old baby boy. We have 2 pictures of him and love just staring at them indefinitely. Now we must wait for the court date which I mentioned above.


God is so Good!

2010 has certainly started off with a bang. As I have been going through my paper pregnancy my brother and his beautiful wife have been going through pregnancy the old fashion way:) The whole family has been so excited to have 2 new precious babies join our family and in a matter of one week we did it all. On Tuesday, January 5th Mackenzie Blake joined our family and she is so adorable. Then exactly one week later on Tuesday, January 12th Russ and I received our referral for an infant boy(still not allowed to give much more info than that) and he is adorable too.

Baby Blake did have to go to the NICU at Vanderbilt so the days between the two were very full but she is home with her sweet brother Jax now and doing very well.

In regards to our process... we will now wait for a court date which generally takes place about 2 months after the referral call. We will be asking for many, many prayers that court will go well and that we will pass. If that were to happen the first time we would then be assigned travel dates that would be about 2-4 weeks after that. In other words we are still waiting and praying for a few more months. I do have a blog friend though that is going to Ethiopia the end of this month and has offered to take a care package for me!

Even though I can't share much info about our sweet baby boy I can tell you that we have two pictures, his medical file and how he got to the orphanage. We have the International Adoption Clinic at Vanderbilt reviewing his medical files and have a call with them at 10:30am today. Russ and I feel very strong that he is our child but we still want to know anything from a medical standpoint that we need to be prepared for. They have been great to work with and I would highly recommend them. We met with them the first week of December....we met with a pediatrician, occupational therapist and psychologist. It was very informative and a bit overwhelming at the same time. When we received the referral I sent the medical information on to them about 1:30pm and by 9:30pm that same night we had a report back from the pediatrician. They have been so great to work with and I look forward to my call with them today.

I am still smiling from ear to ear although all this excitement caught up with me and I have a head cold that started yesterday. Normally, that would be no big deal but right now it keeps me from hugging and kissing on my sweet Blake so I am drinking about a gallon of orange juice and trying to rest and get well fast.

Not sure how any month in 2010 can compare with this first one but I am going to just hold on and see....
God's love and power is amazing!



I can't believe I have not had much to post for months and now I have so much news my heart is racing. Last Tuesday the 5th my brother and sister-in-law had their precious baby girl, Blake. Then this Tuesday the 12th we received our referral for our precious baby boy, Sam (Bezakulu). I will post the details I can a little later today but just had to get some news up now!