Wednesday, September 29, 2010


GOD has been working in this little heart.
                             Knocking on the door.
              Drawing it to HIM.

and very soon...
           on (10/10/10) this 6 year old
deep thinking, rock solid, unwavering,
          intelligent, quiet, witty
   believer will be baptized.

to show the world
 what he knows in his heart,
who lives in his heart,
and what he wants to live out.

oh--- how my heart rejoices that he has chosen to walk in the TRUTH.

Monday, September 27, 2010



there are people that God puts in each of our lives that we forever are bonded with.

eden jane and bristol...
from side by side cribs in an ethiopian orphanage to HOME with their mommies... these 2 will always share an incredible bond

the crazy bond of boy cousins...

 from 'lil man tucker to 
wild man tyler 
"my buddies th-y and tolby" 
(otherwise known as cy and colby)

are blessings from above

Saturday, September 25, 2010

round 2- the party

the bear is 3...yippee!
p.s. check out the knife he is toting today. real. yep.
someone thinks they are 2 cool 4 school...

FYI- though there was a hiney whippin' involved (or 2...),  bear had a blast at his party. as you may know- he is one of a kind:) full of life, wild and crazy, fun fun fun, and driven to the max. love this guy! love love!

a few party peeps eating their dogs. thanks to the dads for manning the fire and cooking 'em!

after being a bit shy from all the attention, the candles are blown out and the cookie is...

when you can- why not just stick your face in and go for it!?

Friday, September 24, 2010

someone is 3 today - round 1

today we celebrate the bear turning 3. 
i love this birthday age because
unlike the previous 2, they get it this year.
bear woke up with a song and the traditional mickey mouse choc chip pancakes.

AND... as someone so graciously pointed out... 
do NOT be alarmed. 
those are NOT flames coming from his head.
 his hair is NOT afire. 
totally, didn't notice this before i first posted the pic, then cackled when i was informed that it isn't nice to set your son ablaze on his big day:) nope, that is just the glorious sun arising this early morn making my photo op go up in flames (hehe).

and on to more excitement...
in order to get the full effect of his gift presentation, joey decided to bring down a wall hanger of sorts.

yes-sir-ee ....the bear now is a proud owner of a tn lifetime hunting license.
these 2 characters, or should i say 3, were fired up over goin' huntin'.
and if you know our fam, then you know just what i'm sayin'.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bristol's Kairos Baby Dedication

If you know Joey and I then you know we love Kairos Tuesday nite at our church.

this past Tuesday nite
was Bristol's baby dedication there.

And it just so happened that our South African friend was there to pray over us with Pastor Mike.

Amazing stuff having hands reached out lifting you up in prayer!

Thanks Tiff for the pics!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bristol is 1 today!

Happy 1st Birthday Bristol

 on this day 1 yr ago 
you came into this world
all the way around the world from us.

and now 
you have been in our arms for over 2 months
and it is like you have been with us always.

what a blessing God has given us
a child 
chose for us


Sunday, September 12, 2010

celebrating Bristol

tonite we celebrated Bristol turning 1...
with just a family members (which in our case just so happens to be 20+...
 for now anyways...)

my two girlies in their B shirts and tutus-
just the way Briley wanted it.

a great pic with Mimi and Padre

Uncle Gavin and  Uncle Taylor are always fun to have around!
Opening a gift from Nonni with a lil help from our fave lil girly cuz...SJ

Quite a crazy crew walking to Sweet Cece's...
somehow we lost one little brother, several daddies, 2 poppi's, one entire family and who knows who else in this trek

the grandmother's (i think we can say we have the most beautiful g-ma's around!)

Bristol enjoying her yogurt treat!

it was a fun nite celebrating with our we won't forget!

tomorrow is the big day...the actual YOU ARE 1 TODAY DAY

can not believe it...

Friday, September 10, 2010

#7 Ethiopia

Saturday 7/10/10

Journal Excerpt

After crashing last nite we awoke refreshed and ready for our last day here in Ethiopia. Yesterday was so exhausting and emotional yet so amazing and wonderful. I will treasure the memories from that day forever in my heart.

We headed to the market to shop. I have been looking forward to hitting the market all week. I love to shop especially like this! I could have spent the day there (or 2) instead of just the quick couple of hours. We purchased treasures for Bristol, treats for the kiddos back home, for us, and for the g-parents who helped wrangle our troops awaiting our arrival.

After the market, we stopped at the coffee shop. Joey came strolling out to the van where some of us were waiting with a piping hot cup of joe. He said the lady inside would be ok with him bringing a sip to his wife. I guess she knew he was going to buy pounds of it:) Well, the moral of the story is...who knew I liked coffee? best stuff I ever joke. it wasn't black or anything. quite doctored up actually and it was yummy. Guess it took Africa and Ethiopia and Bristol to get me to share a cup with my hubby. I already have a sweet tea addiction so this one will not get the best of me. Just a taste here and there.

We hurried back to the HOH2 for our traditional lunch/dinner and coffee ceremony. (good thing I had already decided coffee was for me). Our amazing cook had prepared all Ethiopian foods, eaten in injera, with no utensils. Joey is a huge injera fan, I can only handle it in very small doses.

With the foods still fresh in our stomachs it was time for the coffee ceremony which includes a huge bowl of popcorn. must say again...incredible coffee and best popcorn (tasted like kettle corn).

After finishing stuffing and drinking ourselves we talked with our in-country coordinator Tseguy about all our kids. He is amazing and knows so much about each child.

We did some last minute hanging out with our friends we'd made on this awesome journey and we finished packing our bags for home.

And it was once again time to eat. We were having an early dinner so we could get to the airport on time. Tonite we were served homemade Ethiopian pizza. So good.

Airport here we come. How cool to have traveling home buddies Gina, Angie, and lil Eden Jane with us for the adventure back to Tennessee. All smooth at drop of to airport. Line short to check in and then BAM...airline can't find Bristol's ticket in their system (which we had confirmed just a few days prior). After slight heart failure and realization that we might be in for another nite here...the ticket was found. Bulkhead bassinet seats were given (sitting by our traveling buddies, of course) and the long wait began to board the plane.

Can not explain the exhaustion that was creeping in already. Flight was leaving at 10:15pm. Bedtime, yet here we are awake and waiting.

I felt a slight tinge of fear as we walked thru the gate to board the huge plane. Do they check planes good in Ethiopia, say compared to the U.S.? I mean, come on, we aren't in Kansas anymore (or TN for that matter). Anyways, the moment of eek passed and I walked to my seat with Bristol finally dozing in my arms. Now to keep her asleep for most of the flight so we can rest.

Did I ever mention how bummed I was to see that international flights have no more room than domestic? Bum deal, long time in a very cooped up space.

Beyond excited to see my 3 little children waiting at home. Never been away this long from any of them and I miss those crazy kids!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

it's official

September 7, 2010
it is official. in an incredible court room and 'round the table experience by our entire clan. with our very own lawyer. on our best behavior. the documents were signed by the judge. 
Bristol Askedech Ayele Lankford 
is recognized as our daughter per the United States of America. 
big stuff folks. big stuff.
          special thanks to our favorite judge (and friend) Judge Beal

the lankford's. family of 6.
not like we weren't claiming this already, but like i said,
now we are official.
here is our court house steps debut.
(wish i had my good camera but it was shipped away last week for repairs, praying it returns soon)

wouldn't it be great if this was the last step in adoption for us? 
yes. yes.
 that would be great BUT 
we still have several more steps. and i am ready for the paper trail to stop.

Friday, September 3, 2010

#6 Ethiopia

finally. finally i will finish my Ethiopia posts. well, this one plus 2 more soon to come.

Friday July 9, 2010

After meeting Bristol and holding her in our arms the first time THIS day was the next MOST AMAZING day EVER.

We loaded in our van with the other families and headed to an orphanage in Addis. It was the orphanage where Bristol was transferred for our referral. Bristol probably only spent a week here in this crib.

The MONTHS PRIOR were spent in an orphanage near her hometown that is a branch of this one in the big city.

We pulled in through the big metal gates, children were gathered outside to play, emotions are running high in our group as THIS IS THE DAY WE MEET THE BIRTHMOMS of our babies.

We are led into what would later become the lunchroom for a slew of precious diners. We are told some of the birthmoms are waiting. I am anxious, excited, humbled, and honestly just a ball of emotions. On a bench we all sit with what can honestly be described as deer in headlights expressions. Into the room walks a YOUNG GIRL IN A HOT PINK JACKET with her head wrapped IN A WHITE SCARF, another young girl, and a friendly looking gentleman. IS THIS HER i wonder? is this the girl who gave birth to Bristol and decided adoption was the answer? is this the girl WE HAVE PRAYED FOR? the girl who ultimately gave us the priceless, perfect gift of BRISTOL.

Yes. It is her and translators. We started out so shy in our communication. She seemed so scared. We felt so overwhelmed with love for her and also anxiousness too. Would we remember everything so we could share it with Bristol later? Would we forget to ask a question? (and i have thought of several since then that i'd love to know the answers). Would she be covered with a sense of peace, joy, hope by being around us and know her baby would be loved wholeheartedly by us? Would we truly connect?

Yes. Yes, we connected. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, we are forever changed by this encounter arranged by our marvelous Heavenly Father.

By the end of our time together we had viewed every picture on my camera in great detail. And let's just say my memory card was full. We had held hands, hugged, kissed, walked together, loved.

We had cried tears of joy and sadness. We had connected. Sharing a bond that will forever be etched on each of our lives.

I can not put to words the moments in time we spent with the Bristol's birthmom. The incredible, over-the-top, miraculous, joyful, intense, perfect moments. I have so many pictures but didn't want to share them, they are such a treasure. So only a glimpse...

If the day wasn't full enough we also drove to Korah and to the Bright Hope School for a visit.

Oh and we ate at Greenview Pizza. A must if you are ever in the neighborhood. After a week of yummy Ethiopian food...good American cuisine was good for the belly and the soul:)

Incredible day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

be prepared...eeekkk

sometimes you go perusing through your old pics and stumble across one that literally makes you have to pull yourself off the ground and out of hysterics...
tonite i found such a pic.
this one was taken a little over 3 yrs ago.
i have 4 children.
2 are in this picture.
1 was in the womb at this time.
the other was yet a dream of adoption.
3 of my 4 kids have the talent of sleeping with their eyes or just eye open (and mouths).
can you guess the only one who doesn't?
yep...the one i didn't birth...our ethiopian beauty.
one day this pic will bring laughter and tears again at just the perfect showing...
say a wedding rehearsal dinner or graduation or...
my, my, my ...i mean can- you- say- freaky?!