Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chera and Kenenisa are home!

After over two years of waiting, Chera and Kenenisa are finally home! They got in late last night at 9:15. Chera running to hug me when he walked through the gates was the greatest feeling ever. Both boys were very excited to meet their new brother and immediately gave him kisses and tried to hold him. They still constantly give him kisses. It's a good thing he is a pretty laid back baby!

There were a few other kids at the airport. The boys and the other kids very naturally began playing together. It was pretty sweet. I'll post some pictures of the airport later.

Overall the boys slept well. I guessed that their sleep schedule would be off since Ethiopia is 4 hours ahead and they took a four hour nap at the airport in Washington. They went to sleep at 11:30 and woke up at 7:30. It was much more sleep than I expected they would get. We have had a great day so far. The boys have been busy with soccer, puzzles, coloring, and swinging. They are the sweetest boys. Here are some pics of yesterday and today.

Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Change.

It's changed again! They are estimated to arrive at 9. There is a small possibility that they could leave earlier. I will send out a message if they do. I understand that it is late for people to come to the airport, especially with kids. So please don't feel bad if you planned to come and can't now. :)


Justin's itinerary has changed. He will now be arriving from Washington at 6:30. Flight number UA6029.

The boys got some sleep on the plane, but were pretty restless for the rest of the flight. I think they are having fun checking out all their new surrounding. Justin said that they had their first water fountain experience and Kenenisa thinks of it as more recreational as opposed to drinking.

Thanks so much for the prayers!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Talked to the boys today. Everyone was doing good. They actually all got sick from the food they ate on Wednesday night, but seemed to be better by Thursday evening. Everyone is ready to come home and I am ready to have them home. I know Brittney and her kids are ready to have James home as well.

Tomorrow night they will start their journey home. Here are some specific prayer requests that we have:

-That everyone stomach fully recovers.

-That they are able to make it to all of their flights in time.

-We are expecting the trip home to be exciting but scary for Chera and Kenenisa. Prayers that they are able to sleep and stay calm.

- That Justin and James get some rest on the way home.

Thank you so much for the encouragement, prayers, help, and food. We appreciate it all!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Airport Arrival

As most of you know, adoption airport celebrations are pretty fun. A few people have asked when Justin will be back with the boys. He will be arriving on Saturday at 4:00. They have very little time to get to their plane in Chicago. Lots of prayers that their plane from Washington is on time. Check the blog on Saturday and I will post if I know he is running late.

Since I haven't seen the boys in a while, I would ask that instead of meeting at security, it would be great if everyone could meet downstairs at the bottom of the escalators. I could get a gate pass, but taking a double stroller and two kids through security is difficult. Thank you to everyone for understanding!

Also, for the first few days we will be "cocooning" with our new family. Coming home is going to be an exciting, overwhelming and new experience for the boys. This will give them a little time to adjust and help us to provide a stable and consistent environment. We ask that everyone saves their visits until we have had a little family time. This doesn't apply to people bringing meals! We really need you to come! :)

Here are some great pics from Zoey's airport arrival.

Embassy Appointment!

Just talked to Justin and the boys passed their embassy appointment! This was a huge relief since it is really the last hurdle before bringing your kids home. It's rare that families have any problems at this stage, but glad it's great to have it over with.

I think the all the boys are finally a little rested up. They seemed a lot more calm this morning. Both boys are ready to come home. They are talking about America and getting on a plane. After being in an orphanage for almost 3 years, I can understand why. They were also the only older kids in the transition house. I could imagine they were pretty bored.

The boys are really into everything. They want to tear through every single thing Justin brought for them. Justin is trying to gradually get out things so they stay entertained. It sound like they are really into arts/crafts, puzzles, and of course soccer. They love their backpacks and want to put all their belongings in them.

This was pretty sweet. I have menioned that Zoey is having a hard time when Asher cries. While I was talking to Justin, Zoey started crying because she heard Asher over the monitor. Chera immediately ran over to the webcam and started trying to comfort her. Hoping he is successful at this once he gets here. I could use the help!

Thanks so much for all the prayers! I will post more updates as I get them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Zoey Hiwot!

One year ago today Justin and I brought home our beautiful Zoey Hiwot. This past Tuesday was the anniversary of her "Gotcha Day", the day we first came together as a family. We celebrated by putting Zoey in one of her Ethiopian dresses and going to the Queen of Sheba, our local Ethiopian restaurant.

It's hard to imagine she has been with us for a year now. It feels like we were just walking into the orphanage picking up our chunky baby. I am so thankful that God put her into our lives. Deciding to adopt her was a scary decision. She had so many unknowns and we were also in the process to adopt Chera and Kenenisa. We are so grateful that God made it very clear the path we needed to take.

She has come so far this past year. Our little girl who could barely hold her head up has improved by leaps and bounds. Zoey is the happiest little girl that brightens my mood if I am feeling down or tired. She is such a little social butterfly and makes friends wherever she goes

Although it's been hard waiting for Chera and Kenenisa, our year with Zoey has been precious and we will always treasure it. Happy Gotcha Day Zoey Hiwot!

Our first meeting with our beautiful girl!

Arriving at the Airport

Our Gotcha Day Dinner

They made it!

Justin and James made it to Ethiopia! i was able to skype with Justin and the boys this morning. The plan was for the boys to stay the first night at the orphanage. We both thought it would be an easier transition for them. Both boys didn't want him to leave them, so he went ahead and took them back to the hotel. After all this waiting, it sounds like they are ready to come home!

The boys were super energetic and hyped up about everything. It sounds like they were really excited about their pajamas. I doubt they have ever had any before. It's crazy to think that pajamas could be so special. There are so many things that we are just used to having in the US. I can't imagine what they are going to think about their own room, a closet full of clothes, bikes, etc.

I will hopefully get to skype with them again this afternoon. Praying that they all get some sleep. Justin seemed pretty tired.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1 Down, 2 to Go!

One of our beautiful boys is officially here! Asher Josiah Brown made is debut Sunday afternoon at 1:08pm. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and is 20 inches. Both of us are doing great. Although he was a week earlier than we expected, the birth went great. Thankfully everything went according to our birthplan with no medical intervention. I couldn't have done it without Justin. He was so strong and encouraging throughout the entire labor. We are very thankful to the wonderful staff at Clark Memorial and our fabulous Doula Jackie.

A few people have asked about bringing meals. Our friend Emily from our church has organized a meal calendar. You can sign up using the calendar by going to and use our name: brown and password: 111

Enjoy some pics of our first few days with our new little guy!

Some Kangaroo Care with Dad.

Zoey's first time meeting her baby brother.

Meeting Nana

Intense conversation between Pop and Zoey.

Asher rocking his Dad's favorite hat from Ethiopia

Hanging out with Mimi and Papaw during his first day home.

Zoey and Buddy welcoming their brother home.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Official Date!

We have officially been assigned an embassy date! Justin will be traveling to Ethiopia on August 14th with an Embassy appointment on August 17th. It is so wonderful to finally have this. Being in such limbo has been hard. Hopefully Baby Brown, who is due August 1st, will come on time so Justin can have a couple weeks with him (and me) before he goes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Great News!

Check out those handsome guys! Yesterday we received the letter we have been waiting for. USCIS(immigration) has approved us to bring the boys home! God is good. It was definitely news that we needed to hear. Next, our file is forwarded on to the Visa processing center and then to the US embassy in Ethiopia. We are not completely sure how long it's going to take, but we don't expect it to be too long.
I spoke to someone in Ethiopia yesterday and he told me that the boys are doing well. We can't wait to get them home. Life is about to get extra crazy, but wonderful at the same time! Thanks for the prayers. I will update when we know more.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not a Fan

As most of you know, Justin and I attend Southeast Christian Church here in Louisville. We are very blessed with two wonderful pastors who challenge us each week. One of our pastors, Kyle Idleman is releasing a book based on a previous sermon series, "Not Fan, Completely. Committed. Follower." The concept challenges Christians to not just be an enthusiastic admirer of Christ, but to live as he lived and love as he loved. We found out last week that Kyle would like to donate a portion of book sales at the book signing to our adoption. This was very unexpected. A few days before we were stressing a little about the continued cost (mostly travel related). Why should we be surprised that God was going to provide?

More than the funding though, we are so happy that adoption will be highlighted. The article in the Outlook did a fabulous job telling our story. I love that the article expressed how we thought and think of Zoey Hiwot, Chera, and Kenenisa as our children even before they became legally ours or lived under our roof. Making the decision to start the adoption process can be very overwhelming. There are so many possible fears; What will our family say?, Can we afford this?, What if the child we adopt has mental or physical health problems?. Can I love a child that is not biologically related to me? We hope that the message of the book will inspire others to step out in faith and let God lead them to something that will likely be difficult, but may bring more joy to their lives than they could ever imagine.

Having our story expressed in an article was and is something that is uncomfortable. We in no way want it to look like we are anything special at all. Thankfully, the article wonderfully focused on God's plan. Our entire journey as parents was led and constructed by God. I know that we are not completely committed followers in every aspect of our lives. There are so many areas of our lives that we could better honor God. Thankfully, he does not expect us to be perfect. If we were, there would be no need for him.

Please join us tomorrow, May 22, 7:30, during a live web cast/book signing that will be held at Southeast. There will be great speaking from Kyle and Lee Strobe as well as fabulous music with Mark Hall from Casting Crowns. For more info about Not a Fan, check out:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Zoey Hiwot!

Today we celebrated the second birthday of our sweet Zoey Hiwot. Since Zoey came so close to not even having a first birthday, today was very significant to us. It's very hard to process what a hard start to life she had. We are so blessed that God saved her life and placed her into ours.

Zoey had a great time. She had pizza and cake, two of her favorite things. Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with us. Big thanks go to Amy and her fabulous cake making skills!

Click on the picture to see a few pictures of her day:

Thursday, April 14, 2011


It's been a while since I have been on here. Sorry! We have been pretty busy. We have an exusce though. We are expecting another addition to our growing family. This time, we are going the traditional route. We found out late last fall that we are expecting. It was a complete surprise. We hadn't planned on getting pregnant until after the boys were home and settled. As we have been made very aware over the past couple of years, God has his own plans in mind. Although it is a little much right now, I know we will look back years from now and see just how perfect his plan was.

I know many of you are saying; Yes, this is not news, its been obvious for a while that you were pregnant!" Thank you for humoring us! For quite a few reasons, we chose not to share our news. At this point, it is pretty much impossible to keep it a secret!

Everything has went well. I have been blessed to have a pretty easy pregnancy. Zoey will still be the princess of the family, we found out that it's a boy.

No news on Chera and Kenenisa. I spoke to our immigration official who told us he/she had not started working on our case yet. They also let me know that the average turnaround time is now 75 days. He/She received our case on March 16. Good news, I spoke to the social worker at our orphanage. He said that Chera and Kenenisa are doing great. He also explained to them about our delay and that we loved them and missed them. As hard as it is to have to wait for them, I am so thankful that they are happy and healthy. Although an orphanage in Ethiopia is not the optimal place for any child, I do believe that all the staff love the kids and take care of them the best they can.

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement! We are so thankful for how much support we have received from everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Apologies and Thank You!

First of all, so sorry to everyone if I have forgotten an event, not returned a call, not returned an email, or forgotten some other thing. My mind has been all over the place lately and I have been even more scatterbrained than normal. Thanks for your patience!

Also, in my last email, I forgot to thank a few people who helped us get our homestudy done in record time. Thanks to Katherine, Trina, Bill, Alice, Cindy, and Dustin. Also, thanks to Susan for pushing those who needed a little encouragement to speed everything up.

Enjoy a picture of Zoey when Brittney and James visited her a little over a year ago.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brown Family Update

Check out these handsome boys! A friend was just in Ethiopia picking up his beautiful little girl and snapped this pic for us. He was able to tell the boys we loved them and would come get them as soon as we could. He said they were doing great.

We have had a little bit of a set back in our process. We found out a couple weeks ago that our home study(a document that summarizes our lives and approves us to adopt in the US) had ran out. I got confused, thinking it ran out in 24 months(which was the old standard), but it was actually 18 months. Our home study agency did not catch this either. Along with our home study running out, we also had to update since Zoey is home. All of this means that our home study had to basically be done completely over again. Thankfully, we have finished that part. Next, we have to be approved again by USCIS(United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). I spoke to someone yesterday who explained that we had to start over with this process as well. There is no real way to expidite the process, but she asked that I send the application to her attention. She said she would fit it in her current cases and try to get it done as fast as possible. In a normal circumstance, our application would sit on a shelf and wait for an officer to have an opening. I am very grateful for her willingness to help. I was very worried since friends have not had the best experience when asking USCIS for a speedy process. I sent everything yesterday and it should get there by Monday morning. I don't know why, but you send everything to Texas and it then has to be sent to another location. I have no idea how long it will take to get to the officer I spoke to. We are hoping for March, although we have no real idea how long it will actually take.
Its been such a long process to bring the boys home. Every step of the way has been full of unexpected bumps. Adoption requires so much faith and trust in God. Everytime we get discouraged, we try to remind ourselves that there is a reason for everything. It is of course still hard, but the fact that God is in control gives us hope.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

This is going to be a long one! I am still processing yesterday, so I may ramble or be overly detailed.

Zoey started the New Year off with a bang! She started the New Year's Eve off with her first sleep over with my mom. She did great. She slept and ate good and had tons of fun playing. I was worried because she doesn't always sleep well in new places, but everything went really well. We were proud of her for being such a big girl.

We picked her up late morning and mom was a little worried that she seemed to have a little chest congestion. When we got home, I took her temperature and it was a little high. I took it again to make sure it was right and it had actually increase by a degree in that short amount of time. I didn't think much of it and gave her some tylenol. Since it was her nap time anyway, we left her in her crib. I heard a really loud and strange sound come from her. I didn't go in immediately, but something told me I needed to check on her. When I did, I saw that she was awake. I picked her up and at first thought she was just really sleepy. Her eyes were open, but she was unresponsive and totally limp. Her eyes were slowly shifting front to back. I immediately felt that something wasn't right. Justin came in and took her as we decided to take her to the emergency room. As he was taking her out to the car, he ran back in because he realized she wasn't breathing. Her lips were no longer pink and were now dark and dull. At this point, it was obvious that she had a seizure. Our neighbor Amy is a nurse and Justin ran to get her. I gave Zoey two rescue breaths and decided I would go to our other neighbor's who is a fireman. While I was running I had another neighbor call EMS. As I was running to get Scott, I felt her muscles strengthen back up and I hear her make a sound. It was the most wonderful sound ever! Scott was not home, so we went back to our house where Justin was frantically looking for us with Amy. Amy thought she was having a febrile seizure since she also had a fever. Since she was responsive now, we decided to just take her downtown ourselves. In the card ride, she was groggy, but more herself again.
Thankfully, Kosair was not crowded and they saw us immediately. They all agreed that it was a febrile seizure and was not a big deal at all. It was not long, probably two minutes at the most and she came out of it really fast. Since they said it was okay, we let Zoey take a nap, which she desperately wanted to do. When she woke up, she was her happy squealing self. The nurse told us "If she is this happy when she is sick, I can't imagine what she is like when she's well!"

We had to have a few tests run to see what what was causing the fever, but she tested negative for everything. Their conclusion is that she has a very minor viral illness. She seemed like she was fighting something all week, I guess it finally hit her. It was nice to know that we didn't have to worry about some horrible, highly contagious illness. I hadn't planned on giving the flu shot to her, but it looks like we are getting it now!

When children have febrile seizures, they are likely to get another one. Good times. Even though we now know that they are not a big deal at all, I can't imagine seeing that again. Many of the adults and kids I work with have seizure disorders, so I am pretty used to seeing them. I have had a few clients that have died after having a seizure, so when I realized she was having one, I was pretty scared. Turns out, febrile seizures are not anywhere near as bad as the seizure most of my clients have. They do not last long, and the babies recover from them really fast. It is very rare that a child would have any brain damage from a febrile seizure. We have some medicine to give her in the rare case a seizure lasts 10 minutes. Now, all we can do is try to be aware of her temperature. But, since it is usually a reaction to a sudden fever, they are very hard to prevent.

It was a rough night worrying about every little sound she makes and constantly checking her temperature, but we made it. She is doing great today. She has a slight fever, but it is controlled since we are giving her medicine to keep it down. She is having a fabulous day eating her favorite foods and doing her favorite things. You really wouldn't know she was sick at all. We are very thankful that this scary event is really not a big deal if it happens again. We are of course praying that it never happens again!

Thank you to our neighbors Amy J, Amy H, Gary and Lisa for your calm presence as we were flipping out!