Thursday, February 7, 2013

Annnnnnd....we have a child.

Today has been pretty full already and it's only 3:30 in the afternoon.  We literally just survived our first 'fit' a few moments ago that ended with some pretty awesome nap time that is going on right now.  So it's time for a few things.  First of all, to those of you who have been referring to our daughter as 'J,' she does have a name.  We did our best to protect her while she was here without us.  So without any more waiting, Joelle Tenley Lemons is officially one of us!  The face in the pictures and videos we've been watching for almost a year is laying in bed next to me while I'm writing this!

We woke up around 8am this morning to start getting ready for the day.  Well, we woke up about 10 times throughout the night to turn our a/c unit back on.  The electricity here is pretty unreliable so you find yourself waking up rather hot....quite often.  So you jump out of bed, restart the a/c unit, and try to get back to sleep.  We rushed around and chatted each others ears off for about 45 minutes, and then came the knock on our door.  Our in-country guide was here and ready to take us!

We went straight to the Embassy to apply for an exit letter.  There is info they have to process for us, so Joelle can get an exit letter from the Congolese Immigration Office.  They're working on that right now....as soon as it's done we can head home!  Side note....the Embassy literally said, 'Oh, you're Jared Lemons' to me this morning.  Apparently I've made quite a name for myself.  John, our guide here, couldn't believe we called them every day.  We had some laughs about that, they congratulated us, and we were on our way.

So we made the trek through some pretty crazy terrain to get to Joelle.  It took probably 30-45 minutes to get to her orphanage, and as soon as we walked in we were mugged by tons of kids!  There are 32 children in our orphanage right now, and I'm pretty sure every single one of them hugged us, hung on us, and played with the hair on my arms?!  That was kind of weird.  And then it happened.....walking down the steps came the little girl from our dreams.  I heard Amy say, 'Jared, there she is!'  I literally couldn't see her...there were a sea of kiddos around and she is so quiet and small.  So I scanned everyone and finally saw her for the first time.  We spent a few moments with her, and then it was off to tour the orphanage, have the kids sing and dance for us, and then say our goodbyes.

Amazing day to say the least.....topped off with Joelle's first pizza.  I think she and I will be getting along just fine!

There's so much on our minds right now while we watch her sleep.  First of all....thank the Lord she fell asleep because she was breaking our hearts!  We've had a great day, but when we finished lunch, bath time, and got in bed....I think reality sunk in for her.  One of the happiest days of our lives is the day she leaves everything she knows behind.  Once again, reminds me of the Gospel.  While we fight holiness with everything in us, the Lord clings to us and holds us in grace.  Joelle is already learning quickly that mommy and daddy aren't going anywhere....she's safe in our arms, just as we are in the Lord's.

Thanks for the prayers....God has been so amazing to us this past year and today was an incredible reminder of that!

We will leave you with some precious photos from today:







After her first shower...



78 comments:

  1. Love it!!!! She is just precious!

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  2. She is beautiful! I literally started tearing up looking at your photos! Best of luck on your travels home!

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  3. Congratulations on finally having your daughter in your arms. What a great feeling! You have a very beautiful daughter and family. Hope you have a safe trip home.

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  4. SO amazing! Congratulations, she is absolutely beautiful!!!

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  5. Brought me to tears! I'm so happy for y'all.

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  6. She is beautiful! Congratulations Jared and Amy. That brought tears to my eyes! I am so very happy for you two!

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  7. Omgosh.... im literally tearing right now! !! So happy for you!!!

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  8. Thank you for sharing! I have been following your story and am thrilled to see your dream become a reality! Sweet blessing for you and your family! Congratulations!

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  9. Oh my!!!! Love love love seeing this fairy tale ending that God has blessed you with. What an awesome God we serve. I love seeing smiles on all 3 of your faces. She is beautiful!

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  10. She is absolutely beautiful. I imagine that she is perfect in every way. Seeing the happiness in your eyes is truly amazing. What a sweet and perfect blessing. I can't get over how incredibly precious she is. She has no idea how her life is about to change for the better. She has been blessed with two inspirational people who have moved mountains to get to her.

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  11. Beautiful! Blessing and congrats proud parents!

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  12. I felt like my heart is singing praise as I read this!! She is absolutely beautiful and the two of you look like you're higher than cloud 9! Congratulations! :)

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  13. I have been a huge follower or Amy and her 2nd Grade blog and in the past 6 months have stalked your family blog daily. I have been hanging on my seat all week waiting to see pictures! She is absolutely beautiful and I cannot imagine the joy you two must feel. God is SO good! Have a safe trip home! Can't wait for more pictures!

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  14. Ok, I'm bawling. Brings back so many emotions and memories, and I am just SO incredibly excited for you guys and your new family. She is PERFECT. We are praying, praying, praying for you guys as you bond right now in the Congo. And we'll be praying you home and praying for all of you as you attach, adjust, and enjoy each other as a family of 3! Ok, I'm going to go hug my little African boy right now...

    Love you guys!
    Abby, Ben, and Abe

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  15. such a beautiful moment. thank you for sharing and posting the precious pictures of your new little girl!

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  16. Wow! She is beautiful guys! Congratulations!

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  17. Congrats y'all! It's been a long time coming but judging by the pics it was worth the wait. She's so cute...especially in the Longhorns getup. :)

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  19. Amy and Jared!
    You don't know us, but we are a group of 2nd Grade Teachers in Tennessee that have been following your story through Amy's teacher blog and TpT. We are so happy for the three of you! This journey has captured our hearts and we truly feel like you guys are part of our 2nd grade family here at Rivercrest Elementary. Tears were flowing today as we got our first glimpse of your sweet and precious family! We are continuing to pray for you all! May God wrap His loving arms around you all as you travel home to begin your happily ever after! Happy Gotcha Day from Memphis, TN!

    Susan Eaton

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  20. Tears of joy for you today! Your joy is contagious! Complete strangers in Arkansas have been praying for you and this sweet blessing. My husband and I feel it is on our hearts to adopt, so I have been following your posts regularly. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

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  21. Been dying for an update, so thanks for posting. I am a ga girl but my mom is a native Texan so I loved the hook em horns sign...lol. Joelle is beautiful and so very blessed!!! praying for y'all...and her!!

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  22. Aaawww....she is darling! Just Gorgeous! God is wonderful and good!

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  23. YEAH!!!!!!! How beautiful you all are! I love the joy on all of your faces. God is AWESOME! Congratulations.

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  24. Aaawww....she is darling! Just Gorgeous! God is wonderful and good!

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  25. So precious! My eyes are full of tears and the bell is ringing to pick up students! Ahhh! Congratulations! Lots of love sent your way!

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  26. Congrats!!! She is so beautiful!

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  27. She's perfect!! God is so good. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey!

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  28. Congratulations! She is beautiful! So excited to see God answering your prayers and look forward to see how He will continue to use you!

    Sarah

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  29. So happy for you! I cannot wait to meet her one day.

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  30. Congratulations on finally becoming a family "in person"! I was so excited for you just looking at the photos...can't imagine how you must've felt!!

    Halle
    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

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  31. Such wonderful news! So happy to see this update and your family photo! She is so precious! Congratulations!!!

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  32. Thank you for sharing you love and light with us!!! I'm so happy for you all!

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  33. Congratulations!! She is beautiful!! Thanks for the update!

    Christina :)

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  34. Amazing! Safe travels home! :)

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  35. So happy for you three!! She is beautiful!

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  36. Congratulations Amy!! What a journey. So glad your family is all together!

    Safe journeys back home getting settled.

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  37. She is absolutely beautiful!! I am so happy for you!! Safe travels back home! I am thinking of you three! :)

    Caitlin

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  38. She is beautiful! Already a Texan! Ha ha! Thanks for sharing your story. She is one lucky little girl!
    Amy
    mrsseiber.blogspot.com

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  39. I was hoping for an update, but thought for sure there wouldn't be one. So, so happy for you and your new family!

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  40. Im SOOO happy for yall!!! She is so gorgeous! I know yall are over the moon!! I LOVE her name!!!!!!

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  41. She is absolutely beautiful! God bless your beautiful family! Safe travels home

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  42. I am so happy for you guys. Many blessings and prayers your way for your family.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Balancing the Backpack

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  43. So happy for you all and so blessed that we could cry and pray right along with you through this amazing journey. Congratulations!! Your smiles are just precious! :o)

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  44. So, I cried when I saw the picture of your family, finally complete. So many of my own memories of my son completing my family in Ukraine. Good luck on the way home, bring lots of snacks!

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  45. So touching! I can't wait to continue reading about your daughter's journey and your life as her parents! She's beautiful.

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  46. I am so happy for you!! She is beautiful. You are a beautiful family. Have a safe trip home : )

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  47. Congratulations!!! She is stunning! Hope you are feeling well!! Take care of yourself!

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  48. I've been following your teaching blog for a few months now, and I'm so happy for you! Congratulations!! She is beautiful!

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  49. How precious!! Travel safely and enjoy your first few days together! :)

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  50. What a blessing for Joelle to have such wonderful parents!! She is gorgeous & Mommy sure has picked some beautiful outfits and bows for her girl. Many, many blessings as you begin your together forever time! Today, I was having a particularly hard day & then I realized it would probably be around the time you & Amy were finally uniting with J. & it made me so happy and faithful. So thanks for the reminder that God is so good! Many, many blessings to the beginning of forever!! <3

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  51. She is beautiful!! Have a safe trip traveling home!

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  52. You've already heard a million times how happy I am for you! I can't imagine how amazing this must be for y'all. Enjoy your precious baby girl. XOXO

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  53. How amazing! She's beautiful!! Congratulations to all of you!
    :)
    Kelly
    Beg, Borrow, Steal

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  54. Precious! Congratulations to both of you! :)

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  55. What an amazing family! Congrats!
    Christy & Tammy

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  56. Amazing!! So incredibly happy for you that you're all together at last! I can't even imagine how full your hearts must feel tonight!!!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

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  57. I'm sitting here crying my eyes out. And I don't cry. I'm so happy for your family. Hook 'em!

    The Science Penguin

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  58. Oh!!! My heart is so full!! What a doll!! Congratulations to you guys. She is absolutely perfect. Safe travels home with your sweetie!

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  59. This news made my day. I have been following your journey and I am so happy for your family. Prayers for your safe travels and adjustment into life as a bundle of 3. :)

    Casey
    Second Grade Math Maniac

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  60. I am sooo happy for you!! I have two internationally adopted children and I know just what you are going through!! I cried when I read your post because it brought back memories. Make sure you take lots and lots of pictures and videos while you are there!! Congratulations and safe travels!!!

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  61. This just makes me so happy! I am so thrilled for your little family! Joelle is adorable and she is such a lucky little girl to be welcomed into such a Godly family. Congratulations!

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  62. She is absolutely beautiful! Wishes for safe travels home and for many, many days filled with love and laughter <3

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  63. Oh my Gosh!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!! She is a cute darling, I'm so happy that she has a name now, and a really lovely one. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful time with us. May God Bless You ALWAYS.

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  64. Sooooo happy for all of you!!!! She is fabulous !! Enjoy this time!!! Thank you for sharing your story with us-
    God is good!!!!
    XoXo

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  65. So happy for you!! What wonderful adventures await you! Congratulations on your new family:))

    Aloha,
    Corinna

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  66. Yay yay yay yaaaaaaaaaay! She is so beautiful! Congratulations family!!!

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  67. Congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful girl. I bet you can't wait to take her home! She's just precious.

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  68. Congratulations you guys!!! She is beautiful and you two will be amazing parents. So happy for you!

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  69. She is just beautiful, congratulations! She's so lucky to have a wonderful family!
    ~Fern

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  70. What an amazing blessing! She is beautiful! Congratulations!

    Krista

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  71. WOW!! She is amazingly beautiful!! Congratulations to the both of you on beginning your journey together as a new family!

    Cindy
    All Things Teachery

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  72. She is BEAUTIFUL!!! I started tearing up reading this too. Congratulations!

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  73. Praise God! Praying for you and your new sweet family.

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  74. She is precious! So happy for you guys!

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  75. Congratulations to you! She is absolutely precious. You can see the joy all over your faces.

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  76. I am in tears of joy for you! Congratulations!!!! :D

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