Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick Stem Update

We are doing okay. There are still many really hard days. With God all things are possible. Our family is so blessed by the things we have. It's amazing how quickly one small lego can cause a huge problem/ mess for mommy to fix.
Homeschool status: Ashleigh is doing great in her 5th grade studies. She is currently reading The Island of the Blue Dolphins. She is doing something with decimals and division in math. We are on a plant unit in science (we do this with the boys).
Elijah our booming 1st grader is catching on to all the letters/ sounds. This is a huge answer to prayer. In math he can count past 100, the 1st time he did it I think he scared himself; he stopped at 106 as though that was to far.
Tewodros is in kindergarten. I went on and put him here as he was observing Elijah and seemed ready to start. He loves the letter/ sound book he does with Elijah. He can count to 11. He loves to sing our ABC song. He can tell you the days of the week. His ability to speak English is amazing, language immersion.
Daddy update: He knows when to take mommy on a date night. Thanks dear! He goes on and gets 2 babysitters (yes we now use 2, hopefully not for long). Our sitters are awesome helpful college students.
Please continue to pray for our family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Afternoon at Briley's

Saturday October 17 while daddy was at a CCF board meeting the kids and I went to Briley's to pick out some pumpkins.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

ED is no fun

Wow, what a week at the Stem house. The pictures in the previous post were taken a few hours before the following happened. Teddy fell off the bunk bed ladder Wednesday night, and when he did he busted his lip and knocked some teeth loose. I was in the room in a flash had him in my arms and the other 2 are getting a cloth, ice, and the phone to call Kellar who is at CCF. I tell Kellar to meet me at the emergency room because Teddy has cut his lip. We go to urgent care arriving around 9:15 pm. The wound is to deep for them to treat so we are driven to the ED. Kellar stays with him, I take Ashleigh and Eli home to bed; by this time it is 10:30. Teddy ended up having several stitches inside and outside his mouth. Kellar says he was a trooper. Teddy and Kellar arrived back home at 2:45am.
Thursday afternoon we go to the dentist for them to xray any damage. No visible damage. Yeah! He will Just have soreness for awhile.
Last night (Friday) Teddy wakes up diarrhea, vomiting, and a fever of 104. We tend to those needs at home during the wee hours of the morning. At 9:15 when he wakes (2 hours later than usual) he is still with fever. We call our pediatrician and they want to see him. They run a flu test (negative). They think he has developed an infection and will have to be sedated again for them to tend to his mouth. Thank you Brent and Emelie for staying with Ashleigh and Eli while I go to the ED with them. We are discharged at 3pm. Another long day at the hospital. Teddy is such a good sport to allow the doctors and nurses to poke him where he hurts.
Please continue to pray for our family as we cross the language barrier. I bet in these first 4 1/2 weeks Teddy has learned over 100 words and we have continued to learn and use his Amharic. There is a big part of me that does not what him to loose his native tongue (although in actuality he already has). You see Teddy grew up in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. He knew Tigrayan and spoke Tigrayan until February of 2009 when he entered the Gladney foster care center. Where he quickly learned Amharic.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Pictures of Tewodros!

These are the newest pictures from Suzanne & Kellar & Tewodros. They're doing well so far. Please pray for them to have safe travels and for the language barrier to be broken down quickly. Thanks
Ashleigh & Eli

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Update from the Stem's

Hey, it's Ashleigh. My parents made it to Ethiopia. And they met Tewodros. Here is the email my dad sent us:

Yesterday was long and hard. Tewodros came to us in the morning but began crying and wanted to back to foster care center. We went with him and met and played with his friends. His closest friend left Sunday which made Monday really hard. After a couple hours he went outside and left with us willingly. He was sad and quiet on the ride back. He fell asleep in the car but when I carried him to bed he woke up and went back down and out the front door. Suz carried him back up and held and rocked him until he fell asleep after about an hour or more, about 4:45. He slept until almost 6:00, some on his cot some in bed with us. Suz and I went to sleep around 9:45, but were awake from 2-4 from time adjustment. We awoke to him wispering Mama and Papa. So sweet. Today is a much better day so far. Going to market soon. Please pray for continued transition.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane tomorrow

Thank you to all who have followed our adoption journey to our son. I am a mix of emotions nervousness and excitement. Jesus told his followers I will not leave you as orphans. James tells us true/pure religion is to look after orphans... God has adopted me into his forever family. Now our family has given a little boy in a far away place a forever family. Tomorrow evening we will board a plane in Raleigh, then DC. This plane will fly us to the beautiful country of Ethiopia (I have never been before, but have seen hundreds of pictures of the landscape and people). On Monday morning I will be given the awesome joy to hold my newest son.
A few things we are taking:
2 pants, 2 skirts, 2 capris, 8 tops, 2 pj's, 1 sweatshirt, 1 jacket, 3 pairs shoes
4 pants, many shirts, 3 pairs shoes
2 shoes, 5 pants, 10 shirts, 3 pajamas, 2 jackets
2 suitcases full of our humanitarian aid items:
box of toothbrushes from our dentist, several packs of diaper, 3 large formula containers, 8 tubes A&D ointment, 4 wipes packages, 20 baby outfits, several packs of bottles, crayons, markers, colored pencils, coloring books, beach balls...
A backpack full of fun stuff for Tewodros
Blanket for Tewodros
soccer ball, floppy frisbee, and beach ball for Tewodros
PAPERWORK (documents, itinerary, passport, airline tickets...)
MONEY (thank you bank ladies who helped me with finding 100 bills after a certain year)

While we are gone Ashleigh will post on here when they hear from us
Stay tuned many pictures of Ethiopia, our trip, and our family will follow in the weeks after our return

Friday, July 31, 2009


Tewodros Samuel Kellar Stem

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

God's Timing is PERFECT

Yesterday, we received a call informing us that our court date has been postponed until further notice (we hope to receive a call with our new date next week). I rest in the fact that God is in CONTROL! There were many families affected by this, please also keep them in your prayers.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord...
I know that our little one is being well cared for by his loving caregivers. Elijah told me today that he loves his new brother more than me. What more can a mom ask for than her children to love each other and pray for each other.
We no longer have a land line, so where our phone once sat now sits a picture of our little one, this made my family smile!
Hopefully I can post some more exciting news next week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

court date is fast approaching

In less than 48 hours we will know the results for our 1st court date (prayerfully only court date, but with any adoption one never knows). I am a very anxious nesting mom. I know one thing and that is God is in control. Who knew that on May 1st when we made the waitlist that in 2 3/4 months we would have a court date. I have already started preparing for packing. We still need to gather our humanitarian supplies, some pants for our boy, his backpack of activities... (if anyone in the family wishes to help let us know). Elijah's clothes from last year will most likely fit, we have discovered Elijah is tough on his pant/ jean knees; therefore, we need pants.
The M will return to work tomorrow after being on vacation for over 2 weeks. Since our court date is Friday they will be processing our paperwork along with several others from our agency. Praying all goes well and no problems.
FYI: we have the bunk bed assembled

Monday, July 13, 2009

Update on our little guy

He is growing! He has grown 4cm and .7 kg in a month. We received another beautiful picture today. He has the cutest smile.
Keep praying as next Thursday and Friday our big days for our family.
The M is on vacation until the 23rd. This is the day they will decide and then it goes to court the 24th.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Labor Pains

I have been pregnant twice. I loved being pregnant and feeling our baby kick. I however did not like labor. But in the end when they placed Ashleigh and later Elijah in my arms it was all worth it. Ashleigh was due December 30th. Kellar and I celebrated Christmas at home (as family was 12 hours away). I was ready for a Christmas baby. Kellar would take me through mall parking lots and over speed bumps (not at the slow down speed you should go over them). My water broke the night of the 26th (Kellar will tell you it was during SNL). Off to the hospital we went, where I was induced (yuck) because I was not having contractions. Ashleigh arrived on the 27th.
Elijah's delivery was a little bit different. I took Ashleigh to see a movie on the 15th (feeling a little weird on the inside). The feelings apparently were contractions (new to me). That night I woke up with definite contractions, I was in labor. Elijah arrived in time for our midwife to have lunch on the 17th.
Now we are getting very close to delivery of our son from Ethiopia. In 2 weeks we will know for sure how close we are to meeting him, holding him, loving him, .... 2 weeks to finish his room (as after this date if we pass court we will be making travel arrangements)
In May when we decided our summer travel plans we had no idea at that time why we traveled in June instead of July. Now we know, it was so we could put all our energy into bringing our son home. We ended our vacation and labor began.
Thank you to all who read my blog and share in our story of this awesome journey our GREAT GOD has carried us on, our journey to Ethiopia!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We received the call yesterday afternoon. We have been scheduled for court on July 24th. There are many families in our agency going to court this day. For those wondering, we do not actually appear in court. Our agency represents us.
Remember this day in your prayers, the decisions are often made the day prior. Please pray the judge appears to hear the cases as well as the electricity to remain on. Pray for us as this is going really FAST. God is up to something amazing in our family. If we pass court we will be traveling at some point in August (Kellar's busiest month). Everything will all work out. GOD IS IN CONTROL! PRAISE HIM!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


We received an update on our little guy this week. It is good to hear he is doing well. Ashleigh and Elijah are excited to know more about their little brother. We have started getting the boys' room ready. Check out the cool closet. Kellar once again did all the painting and of course the assembling of the closetmaid system. Hopefully real soon we will have the room walls painted and a new bed assembled. I am also going to post a few pics from our vacation last month.
Prayer points:
1. For our court date (remember courts close from 8/8-9/25)
2. For our Christian brothers and sisters in North Africa (where Kellar did his prayer journey in May)
3. God's continual provisions for our family
4. For Kellar as he makes preparations for campus ministry stuff for the upcoming school year
5. For our family to keep Jesus in the center of it all

“He has become such a grown up kid that he has become a mediator when his friends fight. He is observed to be more loving and caring to other kids. Sometimes when he comes up the younger kids start crying for his toy. He quickly gives them what he is playing with and takes another one for himself. A four year old was crying because a six year old was playing with a toy that she wanted to play with. He talked to 6 year old and convinced him that he should give to her. He has recently started painting drawings and he shows great excitement when it is time to paint.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Elijah's Kindergarten Graduation

Wow, with all the excitement with our referral I have neglected to blog pics from Elijah's graduation. On Saturday May 30th, 6 home schooled kids graduated in the first HOME graduation ceremony. Here are some pictures from that event. Later in the day, Kellar was a groomsman in Glen's wedding.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Yesterday at 4:16 we received the highly unexpected referral call from Mary. I called Kellar and he came home so together we could see and hear about our little boy. He is an adorable happy 3 year old. Kellar drove down to church camp last night so Ashleigh could see him as well.
We did not expect a call at 6 1/2 weeks waiting. I was preparing Elijah's summer tent bed when she called guess soon we will be preparing our boys' bunk bed.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

1 month down

Well, we have now been officially waiting 1 month to be matched to our little boy. At times I get the feeling ours can be a quick match, meaning we could know who he is next month. Then and more often I get the feeling that we could be waiting past rainy season. See, if we get matched real soon we could potentially travel during the early rainy season. The rainy season will only affect us negatively if we get matched before August then we will not have a court date until October. Okay, this is probably really confusing. Basically, I would love to beat the rainy season, but a big part of me says it will all be after. The average wait time for a child is 4 months. Anyways just pray for our little boys health, his development, his biological family's situation (AIDS, poverty...relinquishment), and us as we prepare our home for him. We hope to start next month really getting the boys' room ready (bunk bed, purge toys, closet space...).

1 yucca plant in our back yard

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things to Do

In no particular order my list of things to do:
1. Pray for little brother (wait time for a referral is 4 months, pray for early referral)
2. Pray for Kellar as he finishes out his mission trip he has been gone since the 11th of May will be home on the 24th
3. Finish 08-09 school year, should be done next Friday the 29th (doing school over the weekend in order to finish)
4. File, file, file stacks of paperwork
5. Shred from stacks
6. Go through kids rooms, we have too much stuff
7. Make more strawberry jam
8. Make another to do list

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beach Fun

Elijah quote "I love new little brother, but when he comes homes I will love him as much as Ashleigh."
A couple weekends ago we were at the beach for CCF staff/family retreat. Our family took a few minutes and enjoyed playing together.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We are on the waitlist!!!

We received the official email last night. We are on the waitlist. This actually took effect 5-1-09, our caseworker was out of town. We are all very excited! We need to finish our 10 hours of training while we wait.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dossier Update

While at the CCF staff and family retreat this weekend we got word that our dossier is complete!!! It is now on its way to DC and then to the Ethiopian Embassy and then onto Ethiopia to be translated. We should be hearing real soon about the waitlist. Wait time for a toddler is 4 months, so say by September we should know more.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Elijah had his first soccer game Saturday. Kellar is his coach. His team was unable to score any goals but they had fun running and kicking the soccer ball around the field. Elijah played goalie for a part of the game. I think he is still unsure of himself. We will miss this Saturday's games but will be back strong the next week.
Ashleigh's team did really well. I told Ashleigh's coach who is that girl that looks like my daughter but this girl was running and kicking the ball. This was her best game in 4 seasons. Here are some pictures of our soccer stars.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Approval came today

Oh my, I am so excited. One of Elijah's chores on Wednesday is to get the mail. Ashleigh was reading to him so I went on down to the mailbox, saw a large envelope, grabbed it, saw it was from NC Immigration and ran into the house practically in tears shouting "oh happy day".
This is the day I have long waited for. Thank you to all who prayed. I have a couple papers to gather with this and send it off to be authenticated.
We are on the way to the waiting list!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where were you 15 years ago?

I was saying "I do" to Kellar!
Today we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Science Experiment

Check out my young scientists. Last week they collected water samples (well actually I collected Ashleigh's). I was in Bath, NC over the weekend on the Pamlico River so I decided to gather some water for her. Elijah's water came from a ditch near our home.
Yesterday you can see what the next step was. Next week they will l
ook at the results that are growing in the petri dishes (maybe salmonella, e-coli...).
Every 15 seconds somewhere in the world a child dies from water related disease (3800 children a day!!!)- world vision

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Must be Crazy, I joined Facebook

I have had this crazy idea for some time now to get onto facebook. Kellar has been on for awhile, never much interest on my part until recently. Maybe because this year marks mine (and Kellar's) 20th high school reunion. Well last night I joined. Kellar started me out by letting his friends know I was now on facebook. My day has been spent confirming friends and seeing what facebook is all about.

Adoption update: I needed to renew my doctor's form, did that still waiting for the call to say it has been notarized
We are still waiting for NC USCIS, we were finger printed last November, still waiting What a day of rejoicing it will be when the mailman delivers our approval letter

Friday, March 13, 2009


I am so excited we finally sent off the majority of our paperwork (still waiting on NC USCIS).
I told the FedEx man that he may think I was silly but I needed a picture. Please pray for these documents as they travel to New York to a lady who is going to handle the next few stages of authentication for our dossier.

Tonight Ashleigh presents her Ruby Bridges speech to a live captive audience of homeschool families. I hope to post a video.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ethiopian Experience in Philadelphia

Before Kellar left for Philadelphia I told him there were several Ethiopian restaurants in west Philadelphia. (I went to where you can find any Ethiopian restaurant in the US) I found out today that tonight they are going to an Ethiopian coffee shop and tomorrow nights dinner is Ethiopian (I have to admit that for this I wish I was there) I told him to say a prayer for our child while he is there.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daffodil Smiles

On Saturday afternoon we spent some time at a daffodil field with daddy before he left for Philadelphia (Sunday morning) to do inner city mission work with some staff and students from CCF.