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Sweet sound to my ears…

June 23, 2010

Obviously we have a lot of updating to do on this blog- but as you can imagine, we are a little busy these days!

But I thought I would go ahead and put this sweet little video up that I took while we were in Ethiopia.  These are some of Ms. Abigail’s first English words…

She added the “Mama” onto those phrases all on her own!  It’s still my favorite thing to hear her say.

And the Traveling Begins!

June 12, 2010

Today we begin a 9 day trip to bring home our little girl.

Thanks for all the support.

Thanks in advance for the continued Prayers.

We will update twitter accounts when we can.

@AdoptAdventures

@ash_carroll

@johncarroll77

If you need us, try email first.

Crunch time…

June 10, 2010

As you can see…it’s a little difficult finding time to blog right now!  We are in the midst of serious crunch time.  We fly out Saturday and after a pit stop in Dubai to some great friends (check their blogs out here and here) we will arrive in Ethiopia Tuesday night Addis Ababa time.

I (ashleigh) was in Texas with the kids for a few days with my mom and just got back to Memphis last night.  When we walked in the house, we discovered that some sweet friends had cleaned, organized and decorated to help us get ready for Abigail to come home!!!  Jac noticed every detail – the new pillows on the couch, the bow holders for Charis, the towel rack in the kids bathroom…he just kept saying, “These people are SO NICE!”  What a fun surprise and continued evidence of how crucial community is in this process.

Things like that are so humbling and so encouraging all at the same time – THANK YOU friends.  You know who  you are.

So today I’ve been throwing things in ziploc bags (still not convinced this is a space saver…time will tell) and trying to organize what goes in what bag.

This is what my dining room table looks like right now…

It only took me 4 stores to find the perfect chocolate baby doll for Abigail…

We are so close!!!  We will have internet access at our guest house in Ethiopia and should be able to update the blog throughout the week.

Oh, and if you’re interested at all in the packing lists I’m pulling from…check them out here and here and here.

Financial Update & HUGE Prayer Request

June 3, 2010

First, We have met our goal of $23,255!

Let me say on behalf of Ashleigh, we have been so encouraged by the out pouring of generosity from our friends, family, and strangers these past 90 days. It has been so cool to be on this end of this experience.

  • 92 Donations
  • 22 Strangers
  • 19 States
  • 6 Countries
  • 4 Continents
  • $15,887 raised!

Second, we have experienced an unusual amount of unexpected financial expenses the last 10 days.

  • Washing Machine went out – $575
  • Hot Water Heater went out – $255
  • Our Van Sliding Door Broke – $1,000 to 2,000 estimated? (no current plans to repair unless the door fairy comes one night)

Third, airline tickets are no joke.

They are about $4,500 more than we initially budgeted. We can get closer to our budget if we travel longer. So instead of leaving Monday the 14th and returning Friday the 18th, if we left the Friday 11th and returned Monday the 21st, we could be much closer to our budget. That scenario puts us away from JAC, Charis, and Jones for much longer than desired and increases expenses on the other end for hotel, food, etc.

There is an opportunity that we have that can solve both of these issues and we need prayer.

We have been offered Delta Buddy Passes from a dear friend. These are not free, but the cost of these, coupled with an adjoining flight we need to purchase would actually put us about $200 under our original budget.

Here is the catch, there has to be open space on the flights to use these passes. No open space and then we could end up spending even more than the extra $4,500 we would spend today to secure a ticket.

So we are asking each of you pray.

Pray specifically that Ashleigh and I both will be able to fly Delta Flight 8 from Atlanta to Dubai on June 12th.

  • Currently there are 37 Open Seats and 10 people ahead of us on stand-by

Pray specifically that Ashleigh, Abigail, and I will all be able to fly home Delta Flight 7 from Dubai to Atlanta on June 19th.

  • Currently there are 76 Open Seats and 8 people ahead of us on stand-by

Join us in trusting God that He has provided so much, challenged us to raise so much, and showed us this opportunity to trust in Him alone (and a Delta Sky Cap or two), to get us to our little girl!

Lucy Lane’s Gotcha Day

June 1, 2010

This video is so powerful.

Our day with Abigail is only 2 weeks away.

So many emotions…

May 31, 2010

Just thought I (Ashleigh) would take a few minutes out of this Monday morning to share a little about what’s been going on around me and in my heart these past few days.

First of all, I’ve been so incredibly overwhelmed with people’s generosity.  Friends, family and even total strangers have basically made adopting this sweet girl even a possibility.  There’s so much about this whole process that just screams the Kingdom of God and our unbelievable support network is one of those things.

Second of all, FREAK OUT.  We are so stinking close to holding this sweet child.  Being basically two weeks away from meeting her does so much in my heart.  Of course I continue to imagine those moments and play out all kind of scenarios to try and be prepared for her response to us.  But the reality is, I have no idea how she will respond and can only ask the Lord to love her through us.  Ask that her heart would be as prepared as possible for all of the changes coming her way.  Not only new parents, but a whole new family, new home, new foods, new language, new sights and smells – can you even imagine??

Another thing that being this close does is really challenge the control freak in me.  With all three of my kids I think I panicked  before they got here thinking that everything had to be perfect when we brought them home.  When the reality is, even if everything was perfect, with 4 kids all it takes is for them to LOOK at a room and it somehow messes itself up.  Poor John, I know his honey-do list grows with every task he completes, but he is so patient to help me feel more settled as we prepare to meet our new daughter.

Adopting an older child (and from another country) is very different than when we brought Jones home.  For one thing, our travel time with Jones was 6 minutes from the door of the Med to our front door.  With Abigail, it’s over 20 hours in the air.  So not only is there is the need to prepare our home for her, but also to prepare for a major international trip with layovers and a long journey back with a preschooler.  With Jones, we gradually added pictures of him to our home as time allowed.  With Abigail, I want her to see her face on our walls as soon as she walks in the door to know that she has been part of the family for as long as we’ve known about her.  With Jones, he didn’t care if is room was put together.  With Abigail, I want her to be excited as soon as she sees the girly room that she and Charis will share.

So we’re in crunch time for sure.  And nesting is very hard to do with three kiddos under foot.  But we’re excited.  Excited to get her space totally ready for her.  Excited to hopefully see some friends in Dubai on a layover there.  Excited to experience Ethiopia and all of its sights, smells, foods and sounds.  Excited to see the home where Abigail has been for the last few months.  Excited to see her face to face and get to hold her.  Excited to spend some time with her in her country for a couple of days.  Excited to get to know her personality and hear her voice.  Excited to get her here to meet her sister and brothers and see her home.  Excited to settle in with her and start a new normal as a family of 6.

And really, that’s the whole point of all of the crazy cleaning, organizing, decorating, and packing that we are in the throes of right now.  To get her home.  To complete our family.

Embassy Date Set

May 27, 2010

We just found out that our U.S. Embassy date will be on June 17th!

Above is my iCal mark for the event! Ashleigh and I are so excited.

We will hopefully book our plane tickets in the morning!

We still need $310 for our original goal of $23,255.  We are estimating that airline tickets actually may cost $900+ more though due to rising airline prices this week!

BIG Check

May 26, 2010

Headed to FedEx Office right now to mail off a HUGE check of $4,500 dollars and the final paperwork I talked about earlier today. This is the second half of a $9,000 fee.  Ashleigh and I paid the first half out of savings.

This check was completely supplied by your donations!

Friday we are hoping to have a confirmed Embassy date in Ethiopia and we will purchase three airline tickets with the money we raised this week!

Please pray for cheap tickets!

FINAL Paperwork

May 26, 2010

Final three pieces of paperwork.

One is a medical disclaimer that acknowledges we understand Abigail’s current health. She is perfectly healthy, but we still have to sign off on it.

One is the I-600 which is an immigration form.

The last one is the DS-230 which is also an immigration form.

They look like tax documents, basic government paperwork.  Celebrate Children provides step-by-step instructions for filling them out which makes it easy. They also fill out everything they can for us, which is really nice and helps in getting it right.

We will present these final two pieces to the US Embassy in Ethiopia on either June 17th or July 1st!

FINAL PUSH for FUNDRAISING

May 24, 2010

First of all, Ashleigh and I would like to thank you all for praying, encouraging, and supporting us during our Adventure of Adopting Abigail.

This week we will get our exact travel date and we need to book our three airlines tickets (Two there and three back!), we need to pay for a few more things for immigration, and then cover our visa costs.

Here is what we need…$3,120 $2,305 $1830 $1200 $670

UPDATE – as of 1:00pm CST 5-26-10 – $2450 dollars raised

We need to close out our fundraising piece this month over the next 7 days.

Our original goal was $23,255.  Ashleigh and I put in the first $8,000. To date we have raised $12,130 via donations, a HUGE Yard Sale, and the Ocho de Mayo Fiesta.

Here is our idea and our hope….what if 312 people gave $10 this week?

I know that is a lot of people, but we have three times that many people following our story on this blog, our blogs, and facebook. Our hope is this week our friends and family can help us BRING HOME ABIGAIL!