It’s been a rough week.

First I came down with a nasty stomach virus last Saturday night.  This was the virus that just wouldn’t quit.  When I thought I was feeling better, I’d eat a little something and be back in the bathroom within 30 minutes.

My sweet Papa, my last living grandparent, passed away last Monday.  I boarded a plane for Little Rock Wednesday morning.  I prayed that my stomach bug was gone….it wasn’t.  I wasn’t able to eat normally until Thursday!  Papa’s was the first military funeral I’d ever attended.  What an honorable celebration of life.  I am so blessed and thankful to have been able to attend.  I have pictures and video of my trip that I will share soon.  Ashley was scheduled to be induced Thursday morning.  I’ve had the privilege of attending all of her other births and I was heart-broken that I wouldn’t be able to attend the grand finale. However, thanks to modern technology, I was able to attend the delivery afterall!  Stephen (Ashley’s husband) called me on Face Time (like Skype) about thirty minutes before Natalie’s birth and I was able to “be there” for the final minutes of labor and the delivery.  It was such a special time and I am thrilled that I didn’t miss Natalie’s birth just because 700 miles separated us.  Stephen propped me up near the TV in the delivery room, where I listened, watched, and waved to the nurses.

What a fun story that will make one day.  Natalie Praise Bailey was born at 11:44am, weighing 8lbs. 9oz.  She looks exactly like her oldest brother and sister.  Absolutely precious!

I’m home now and it was wonderful to be greeted by Josh, my sweet boys, and a really clean house!  I missed them so very much but I knew they were in great hands with my dear friends Sharon, Ali, and Kelli.  Thank you ladies again for all of your love and support while I was away.  You are truly a gift to me!

One last update:

The boys’ video and $1 Challenge has raised almost $600 in the past six weeks.  But we can’t stop now.  We’re so close to the finish line!  The race is in two weeks.  We are hoping it will be our final big fundraiser before we bring Zoe home.  We have about $13,000 left in fees.  Once the race is over I will begin applying for adoption grants.  Most of them take 6-8 weeks to process.  If we don’t have any hang-ups in our paperwork, we’re hoping to get our dossier in the mail by February!  Once that is sent, we’ll be finished!  I’m praying we have a referral by my THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY:  May 25.  As I boarded the final plane yesterday, my eyes filled with tears and butterflies filled my stomach:  The next time I board a plane, it will be bound for Ethiopia….and ZOE!

I imagined what it will feel like finally holding her in my arms on the flight home.  This is the year!  Zoe is coming home!  Will you help share our video if you haven’t already?

Bringing Home Baby Zoe