Monday, April 27, 2009


We are so excited here to announce today we received a court date for June 5! This court takes place in Ethiopia without our presence. And, come June 5, if all goes well, Annsleigh will LEGALLY BE OURS!!!! That is THE day we can post her pics here. If all goes well on June 5, we have a tentative VISA date on June 25. That means that we have to be present in Ethiopia, with baby in arms, to bring her home!!!!! We are thrilled because this is sooner than we set ourselves up for. Although we are well aware that for various reasons sometimes court does not pass first time around and then may be delayed a month. But, we can actually now start calling around for ideas on how much air fare will be and we can also call around and plan where to stay. It is actually feeling like it is really going to happen now. I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whats In Her Name

This is Brad, Frans husband. What is in a name? When we came up with her name it had alot to do with our family. The Ann part as you all know is named after my lovely wife Francine Ann Hoagland. The Leigh part is named after my sister Terri Leigh Neely. Her middle name Lynn is named after to very very special people. One would have been my step daughter Amanda Lynn Merritt, i never got to meet her i wished i would have she was a very beautiful young lady. The other very special person she is named after is my oldest sister Tracy Lynn Hoagland, She was very special to me she did alot of thing for me. She was killed in a car accident when i was 16 years old it crushed me. I told myself if i ever had a daughter her name would be part of my daughters name. Annsleigh Lynn Hoagland is very special to Fran and I, shes part of my step daughter and my wife, and sisters. She is going to be very special to me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

6 Months Old Today!

Today, our baby is 6 months old! Oh how I wish I had her here with us. In reality, we may not have her until July. I apologize for those who read along and arent familiar with the adoption process. We are not allowed to post pictures of her until it passes court in Ethiopia. After that, she is legally ours and you better believe you will see her sweet face right here! Unfortunately, it takes several months to get this accomplished, so again we play a waiting game. But, at least during this wait we have a picture to look at. Once court passes, we travel to bring her home within another 2 weeks to a month.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Friday Tornado

This is what came through our city of Murfreesboro on Good Friday, 2009. It was devestating! Very frightening. Many many families lost their homes, and one young mother and her 9 week old baby lost their lives as they fled for safety. We are fine. We are very grateful and thank God for that. I was at work at the hospital when this was going on. We had always practiced what to do when an outside disaster strikes, but really never thought it would happen. What happened that day was sickening. Grown men crying on strechers. Entire families battered and bleeding, their children skinned from head to toe with their clothes hanging off of them. The loss of life. When I got home that night, I just hugged my child and husband and didnt want to let go. To beat all, it wasnt even 1 1/2 weeks earlier that we already had a smaller tornado rip through one street in town wiping out a movie theater and strip mall. Today I drove through one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, a house I lived in 3 years ago. The subdivision looks like a bomb, no, several bombs went off. Words cannot describe what is left, and what is simply gone. There are so many displaced families. It will take forever to rebuild and replace. Now, as I type this, thunder is rumbling again, and I cannot help but get skiddish when storms come around. And, I live in a subdivision that was destroyed by a tornado 10 years ago. We do not have basements here. Most people dont. And, the homes lost were not just mobile homes. They were even brick. So, I hope we can invest in a storm shelter. In the meantime, just please pray for all these displaced families. It will be a long time before they can get back to any normalcy of life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Referral Day Details

Okay, think I can finally pull myself away from her picture long enough just to type this. We have seriously been in a trance over her precious face. But, it has been a few days and feel it is now time to share the details of our referral day. WARNING: This has potential to be long. Now, before I get into the details of this day, I must go back to the day before, March 29. March 29 has always been a precious day in my heart because it is my first daughter Amanda's birthday. She would be 20 now. (WOW!) She died when she was 8 of a degenerative brain disease. In fact, Annsleigh is named partly after her....they both share the middle name Lynn. On Amanda's birthday, I was unable to go to the cemetary and let off balloons in memory of her as we always do because I had to work. The next day, I left the house jokingly telling Brad I'll have my cell phone on because I expect a referral call today! (eyes rolling) Well, I was off to take some things to the cemetary for Amanda. But, first, I had to stop by Bradley's pediatrician office to pick up some x-rays for a MD appt he had later that day. There I was in the basement of the clinic building where my cell phone always dies when I was missing my referral calls. Toni at the adoption agency called Brad at home and both of them repeatedly tried to call me. I was getting ansy waiting 30 min for x-ray copies because we had 7 newborn puppies that needed to be at the vet by then, that I just knew Brad would be trying to get a hold of me. So, finally, when I left the clinic and as soon as I got signal back on the phone, I called Brad to figure out when we were going to get 7 puppies to the vet. Well, when he answered he just said where are you? You just need to come home now! I asked him if something was wrong? He didnt want to tell me cuz either he wanted to surprise me and/or was afraid I would wreck coming home, but he finally said the adoption agency had been trying and trying to call me! We got the referral! So I asked him WHAT?!?!?!!?!?? Well, how old is she? He said Toni would not give him any info until she could get us both on the phone. AAAHHHHHHH! You talk about driving like a maniac! I was excited, and crying and driving irradically, of course getting stopped at EVERY stoplight. I looked in the passenger seat and saw all the cemetary birthday stuff for Amanda and lost it! I felt this was just a precious precious timing of God. And I felt Amanda was okay with all of this. That somehow, she was there. It was as close to being Amandas birthday as possible. Almost wrecked I dont know how many times. Finally got home Toni called and I dont remember much about the conversation!!! I wrote some things down, and then, we saw the picture! That was all she wrote! Kiss smudges all over the computer screen! Her little face is plastered all over the house and even in our cars on the dash! Cannot sleep, or concentrate on anything. We quickly printed off the pics and left to run over to a friends house to show her off, but we locked ourselves out of the house! No keys, cant get in, cant go to friends. What in the world? Well, I'll proudly take the credit for being able to break into our door successfully with my insurance card! And Brad was driving stopping a greenlights and going on red lights. Of course, we eagerly awaited her paperwork the next day, got it, read it, signed it, sent it, sealed, delivered, ACCEPTED!!!! And we love the name her birthmom gave her because it means " its okay" . We are going to incorporate it into her name. Sorry, this was long, but it is just too much to explain in a sentence or 2.