One year ago on July 4, 2010 we held our son for the very first time and finally became a family.  Amazing how one child can bless a family in so many ways. I cannot imagine our life without him and thank God for him every day.

Look at that scared little boy 😦

He sure has come a long way in just one year.

Not so scared anymore

The kid sure loves his cake!

Happy 1st Gotcha Day!


It’s hard to believe that it was one year ago today that we saw this cute little face for the very first time. It’s been a day of reminiscing on the past year and how fully blessed we are to be called “mommy” and “daddy” by this sweet little boy.

Referral Picture

Below is a glimpse into the day that our lives changed forever.

Wow, how time flies! Makai turned 2 on February 28th.


He sure loved his giant chocolate cup cake. He ate almost the entire thing!

I love chocolate!


Cousin Ali


Makai's BFF

First fall as a family and enjoying every minute!

My apologies for falling off the face of the earth. We’ve been home a little over 2 months now and I am in full mommy mode and loving it! Our little guy has brought so much joy into our lives and is adjusting so well. It’s amazing how far he has come in such a short amount of time.

A little about Makai.

Favorite Words: “Look!”, “Elmo”, “Abby GO!”, “I love you”, and “amama duh” (translation “take this”)

Favorite Foods: yogurt, cheese, oatmeal, cereal puffs, blueberries, peas, beans . . . anything round

Favorite Toys: balls, mom’s phone, and anything he can push

Favorite Fictitious Character: Elmo

Favorite Songs: “Patty Cake”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Row Row Row Your Boat”

We are nearing the end of our time here in Ethiopia. I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. It’s been an amazing trip but I am excited to get home and start our new life together.

So sorry for the late posting. I just haven’t had the desire to get on the computer since we left Denver.

One of our first family photos

Below are a few more pics of our time here in Ethiopia.

Hiking with the locals in the Simien Mountains in Gondar

Short hike at Lake Hora just outside of Addis

Mom and Makai hanging out at Kuriftu Resort

We’re all packed and ready to go! We depart at 12:00 noon tomorrow, June 30th and arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thurday, July 1st at 7:00pm. Then we head to Gondar (Makai’s birth place), known as the Camelot of Africa (there are more castles per square mile in Gondar than any city in Europe). We will spend a couple days exploring Gondar and Lake Tana, then head back to Addis on July 4th. The agency will bring us Makai the afternoon of July 4th or the next morning, June 5th.

Check out all our luggage! Yes, 6 suitcases! Two suitcases are full of humanitarian aid items though . . . full of diapers, wipes, clothes and toys for the orphanages in Ethiopia. We also have a few care packages to deliver to kiddos of waiting families.

We will try and post updates and pictures while in Ethiopia, depending on internet access. If not, we’ll have lots to share when we return.

Below are photos of Makai’s room inspired by this room on

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the bluish/green color on the wall is actually the same color as my inspiration room. It’s a Benjamin Moore paint called Robin’s Nest (Color #618).

I originally planned to paint the Jenny Lind style crib yellow (like in my inspiration piece) but chickened out and just went with white. BTW, I found the crib on Craigs list from another adoptive parent. When she found out I was adopting, she just gave it to me!

The chair and changing table, I also got for free. So all in all, we spent very little on his room. It’s not exactly my inspiration room, but I am happy how it turned out.

It’s time for us to pay it forward, so if any of you have packages or pictures you’d like delivered to your little ones, please send them our way! Email a photo and your childs info, in the format below please. We will also do our best while we are there to get you some photos and videos. BTW, we leave on June 30th.

Child’s Name
Gladney Foster Care Home #___
Your name/email

Email me at shannon at zipstardesign dot com, I can’t wait to meet all of your cutie pies!

About This Blog

This blog is dedicated to our journey of faith and obedience through international adoption. We want to invite you to join us on this adventure as we experience the joys, challenges and spiritual growth of adopting a child from Ethiopia.

Below is a timeline of our journey:
  • August 2008: Began adoption research for Ukraine.
  • September 2008: Experience tremendous road blocks with Ukraine. Decide to adopt from Russia and submit application to A Helping Hand adoption agency.
  • October 28, 2008: Orientation with placing agency, A Helping Hand. Begin to gather documents for dossier.
  • November 2008: Submit application to home study agency, Hope's Promise. Orientation with Hope's Promise. Begin to gather documents for home study.
  • December 2008: Submit home study documents.
  • January 2009: Begin to pray about switching to Ethiopia. Meet with friends adopting from Ethiopia. Make decision to switch. Have to find new placing agency because A Helping Hand does not have an Ethiopia program.
  • January 20, 2009: Home Study session #1 - couple interview
  • February 2, 2009: Home Study session #2 - individual interviews
  • February 9, 2009: Home Study session #3 - home inspection and final couple interview
  • February 11, 2009: Home study approved!
  • February 11, 2009: Orientation with new placing agency, Gladney Center for Adoption
  • February 13, 2009: Celebrate approval of home study at Ethiopian restaurant.
  • February 21, 2009: Begin 10 hours of on-line Hague adoption training.
  • February 25, 2009: Ethiopia conference call with Gladney staff and other adopting families.
  • February 27, 2009: Submit Gladney application part 1 & 2.
  • February 28, 2009: Receive random check in the mail from old friends wanting to contribute to adoption expenses! Huge blessing!!!
  • March 5, 2009: Submit Gladney program fee #1 and homestudy review fee.
  • April 1, 2009: Home Study is finally written and sent to Gladney for review.
  • April 3-4, 2009: Mandatory adoption training through Hope's Promise.
  • April 18, 2009: Submit post-placement fee to Hope's Promise.
  • April 22, 2009: California documents (birth certificates, marriage certificate, bank letter, reference letters) sent to Sacramento for authentication.
  • May 4, 2009: Received authenticated documents back from Sacramento.
  • May 6, 2009: I600a application (request to US immigration to adopt) finally mailed!
  • May 14, 2009: Launched ONE*C campaign and website to raise orphan awareness and help fund our adoption.
  • May 22, 2009: Went to immigration office to submit electronic fingerprints for our I600A application.
  • June 4, 2009: Finally approved by Gladney and submitted program fee #2!!!
  • June 26, 2009: Received immigration approval letter I-171H - the final document needed to submit dossier!
  • July 15, 2009: Turned in Colorado documents to the Secretary of State for authentication
  • July 16, 2009: Picked up authenticated documents from CO Secretary of State and sent completed dossier to Gladney via FedEx.
  • July 17, 2009: Received email from Gladney that they received our dossier and are officially on the wait list!!!
  • March 17, 2010: After exactly 8 months of waiting, we got our referral for a 12 month old baby boy!
  • May 7, 2010: The new travel 2x policy goes into affect, but get a call that our paperwork made it to court in time and we'll only be traveling 1x.
  • May 13, 2010: Get a call that our court date is set for June 4th
  • June 4, 2010: Court date delayed until June 7th due to a clerical error on paperwork
  • June 7, 2010: Pass court! He is officially ours!!! Embassy date set for July 8th
  • July 4, 2010: Gotcha day! Together at last.
  • July 13, 2010: Arrive home from Ethiopia
July 2018
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