Monday, July 30, 2012

We received our court date!!!!

Just received word today that we received our official court date of August 14, 2012.  What a blessing to have a chance to pass court before court closure.  Russ says K is doing well.  He looks great and is healthy.  Russ is enjoying his last two days with K. Until we become his legal parents this is all we are allowed to share of him.
saying goodbye

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When our baby arrives home

Dear Family and Friends,

As we prepare for the arrival of our son, we have learned that preparing for our baby's emotional health is the most important thing we can do for him. In his short life, our son will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for him. While he may not consciously remember the events, he will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma. He's already experienced the loss of a birth mother and will soon experience the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of his birth country. His world will turn upside down. He will struggle with feeling safe and secure and he may lack the ability to trust that we will meet his needs.

We have prepared to meet his emotional needs so that he does learn that we will always take care of him and we will always keep him safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow him to regress so that he has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite his chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling him, we have been advised that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until he has learned that we are his parents, we will need to be his primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold him, feed him, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child. We will follow his lead and trust our instincts as his parents rather than worry about what society expects.

We have been waiting anxiously for our son to arrive but he has not been waiting for us. He may show his grief and confusion in many ways and we are prepared to help him through it and prove that we are a forever family and this truly is his last stop. We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for our son, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.


The Whaleys

Our heart is in Ethiopia

We wanted to let everyone know we are adopting a little baby boy from Ethiopia.  We apologize to everyone that we weren't able to tell in person.  This process has moved very quickly up through referral when it came to a screeching halt.  We have waited for over two months for the southern region MOWA letter before we could continue down the road to receiving a court date.  All I can say is I can agree with Russ' cousin Tammy, that adoption isn't for the faint of heart and we aren't even close to having him home yet.

In answer to the question why were are adopting, the simplified version is that God put it in our hearts.  When we researched the countries to adopt from we fell in love with Ethiopia.  We love their culture, people and are humbled by how much love they have for their children.  Even though this decision is a surprise for many, it has been in my heart for over 3 years.  God finally opened Russ' heart this last November and we officially signed on with our adoption agency at the end of December.  Thank you Danielle and D.J. for your big push.  We can't wait until we pass court and can show our little boy's pictures.  All we can say for now is that his birthday is December 18, 2011.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 1, 2012 Sumpter, OR on the way home

On our way home we stopped in Sumpter, OR outside of Baker City.  Sumpter is an old gold mining town.  The kids were able to pan for gold and actually found some.  We then toured the dredge they used, which is still resting at the exact location they abandoned it when they decided it wasn't profitable to run anymore.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

June 30, 2012 Off to Boise, ID

We were able to find an amazing deal on a 2 bedroom suite that would sleep all 7 of us so we booked the Marriott Resident Inn in downtown Boise.  After such a busy vacation and a long drive we were so happy to have some down time.  With not knowing the area, we were greatly surprised that the hotel was with in walking distance to Boise State University after we checked-in.  Let's just say the boys decided to tour the campus and have a little fun.

Is Flat Grandpa Stanley leading the kids astray?

Is that an OS being performed at Boise State?

June 29, 2012 Yellowstone Day 3

Today we were able to tour the Old Faithful Area.  Our first stop was the Lower Geyser Basin followed by the Midway Geyser Basin, the Upper Geyser Basin, The Black Sand Basin and finally Old Faithful herself.  At Old Faithful village we had time to burn before the next eruption so we had our picnic lunch and then wandered over to the Old Faithful Visitor Center.  The kids turned in their Ranger books and received their patches.  The visitor center was really neat and kid orientated.  By the time they were done exploring it was time to move outside to witness Old Faithful's eruption.

After that exciting event we drove towards West Thumb where we stopped at the Continental Divide.  The continental divide is the highest point on the continental plate.  It is where the water feeds the Snake and Columbia Rivers to the west and the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to the East.  We completed our tour for the day with stopping and witnessing the huge canyon waterfalls and walking the Mudpots and the Dragon's caldron.  It was an amazing trip with beautiful landscape and amazing features.  Who would have known that Yellowstone has over 10,000 geo-hydrothermal features in its park.  We were all sad to leave.

One of the highlights of the day was T having to have a book called, Who Pooped in the Park?  Let's just say the rest of us felt Russ should write a book called, Where to Poop in the Park.
Old Faithful Area

A Wack-a-doo

Russ, Uncle Dave, Nana, myself, Papa, A and T

Time for some fun on Yellowstone Lake

Dragon's Mouth Spring Canyon Area
Canyon Falls

June 28, 2012 Yellowstone Day 2

After a very long day in the park yesterday, we decided to split the southern loop of Yellowstone up into two days.  We arrived early in Yellowstone and headed north to visit the Artists Paint pots and then up to Norris to walk the Back Basin before they were packed with other Park guests.

Now, when you enter Yellowstone, they provide you with a Newsletter that outlines all of the park rules.  Rules like stay 25 yards away from elk and buffalo and 75 yards from bears and wolves. Another rule was do not stop in the middle of the road or on the side of the road even if other people are doing it.  Wait until you find a pullout you can safely stop at. (They have many) Well as you can imagine people didn't read the newsletter and were continuously just stopping in the middle of the road causing traffic jams or approaching wildlife like they were tame.  (Just earlier that week two people had separate incidents with buffalo where one of the gentlemen was killed.)  These behaviors were another reason why not to take the grandparents with you on vacation.  Out came the I word (idiot) from my Dad along with the S word (stupid).  We really didn't want the kids to start using them so we had to settle on a word to describe people who didn't think, that was appropriate.  They finally decided on Wack-a-doos.  Lets just say there are a lot of Wack-a-doos at Yellowstone. After that crisis was solved we were able to focus back on our trip.

We then traveled to canyon village and down towards West Thumb and Grant Village.  At Grant Village we stopped for tourist gifts and to get a treat.  Our ice cream server ended up being a young woman from Oregon.  It just goes to show you what a small world it is.  At West Thumb we walked the Central Basin right on the shore of Yellowstone lake and were awed by the amazing pools and hydro thermal features.  We finished our loop my driving through the Old faithful area and gyeser basin.  We took a brief detour on Firehole Lake Drive and were able to witness an eruption of the Great Fountain Geyser.
Artist pots

Artist Pots

Artist Pots

Flat Grandpa Stanley along for the ride
Norris Back Basin

Norris Back Basin

Norris Back Basin

Norris Back Basin


West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin on the shore of Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb Geyser Basin

June 27, 2012 Yellowstone Day 1

We finally made it to Yellowstone.  What an awesome place with such beauty.  The kids were so excited as they wanted to see a "buffalant".  We entered through the West Yellowstone entrance and drove to Madison.  We stopped off at the ranger station, where the kids picked up their jr. ranger booklets to fill out during our time there, so they could earn their patches.  We decided to head north to Norris where we walked the Porcelain Basin.  The hydro thermal features were awesome even though a little stinky.  We then made it to Mammoth village where we toured the Terraces and made our way into the village for a quick treat. While we were there we were able to get a close up view of Mammoth Village's own resident Elk herd. From there, we left the open meadows and drove into the forests as we made our way toward the Tower-Roosevelt area, then to canyon village and back towards Norris and the West Yellowstone exit.  We saw lots of buffalo, elk and we were lucky enough to see a coyote fairly close up.  It was a really long day, as we didn't make it back to the cabin until almost 10 p.m. that night.  While we enjoyed Yellowstone for the day, Flat Grandpa Stanley decided to take a day of rest.  Ok, the truth is we forgot him.  Not on purpose, but trying to get 7 people out the door with enough food and water for the day is a feat in itself.

Porcelain Basin
Porcelian Basin
upper terrace
upper terrace
Mammoth Village resident elk herd

petrified tree