Zoe’s Adoption Story

>January 28, 2007 and Photos

by Joy Portis on January 28, 2007


We are currently in the air about an hour before we land to refuel in Rome. It has been a good flight so far and started out with some good laughs. When we first got to our seats we started playing with all the buttons: reclining our seats, letting up the leg support, checking out our bag of personal hygiene supplied and sleep aids…. Once we got comfortable and after we finished watching our beautiful Ethiopian hostesses we decided to turn on our lights and read a little bit. Well, we kept mashing out buttons but nothing happened. After several times I realized the man’s light, who is sitting in front of Kim was going on and off as she pressed her button. Every time her would look up, try to bush his light button but nothing happened and then he would reach and try to manually twist the light to get it to turn off. We were in tears laughing and after a few more times we had to stop because we couldn’t control our laughing We then asked the hostess to try but only a few lights in the business class seats actually seem to be controlling the correct lights. Oh well, they gave us plenty of snacks and food so we were in good moods and just glad that our TV screens appeared to be working. While we had dinner I watched You, Me and Dupree and got several looks as I had to laugh out loud during several parts. Kim watched Step Up and when they finished we both took a Lunesta and settled in for a nice long nap.

I don’t know what is wrong with my body, I guess it’s the anticipation of meeting my daughters, but I just couldn’t sleep much. I guess I slept from 10 pm – 2 :15 (central time) at which time they woke us to tell that they were beginning to serve breakfast. Still not sure why since on US time it was way to early for breakfast and in Ethiopia it’s almost lunch, but I guess they had to get it done before landing in Rome to refuel. So my watch says it’s 3:50 am and we have just finished breakfast in bed and now they are pouring champagne 🙂 GOOD MORNING !!

We can finally see Africa on the screen that show’s flight status, etc. Very exciting !! We are getting really close and more excited. For now I’m going to try and get a little more sleep and I will hopefully get to update later!!!


>January 27, 2007 The Journey Begins !

by Joy Portis on January 27, 2007

Needless to say, I didn’t get very much sleep last night! After taking 2 Tylenol PM I was able to fall asleep around 12:30. I had my alarm set for 5:40, but I woke up at 4:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. Just what I needed… to make a long day even longer

I decided to try and rearrange my packing so I could fit more in my carry on. Around 6:45 mom and dad arrived with Kim and her luggage. Jon Cole was laying in my bed watching cartoons and drinking chocolate milk when they drove up. I told him they were here (so he could greet them at the door) and he hopped out of bed, still in his pajamas, ran past me and casually said “bye”! He was ready to go with them to Millbrook!! I explained that they weren’t ready to leave with him yet and that they were staying until our ride to the airport arrived.

We arrived at the Atlanta airport around 10:30 for our 12:30 flight. There wasn’t a long line to check bags, but each person took forever. They finally got to us and the time came to weigh our bags……… the first was 80 lbs!!! We had one exactly 50 lb’s, 73 lbs, 75 lbs and 68 lbs !! The weight limit on Ethiopian air is 70 lbs per bag, but for the United flight to Washington it was only 50lbs. I’m not a stranger to having to pay a fee for my over weight bag but it is usually $25. She was charging $50 per bag!! Fortunately for us we got the employee who had had her morning coffee and she only charged me for 2.

The flight to Washington was only an hour and a half and was uneventful, other that the rough spot of turbulence. There was a beautiful 8 month old baby one row in front of us and we played with her and we got even more excited about seeing our girls!!

Once we arrived in Washington we couldn’t find any listing of our flight ( we were to early for it to even be posted on the board yet) so we found a place to get some food! We were hungry, and if you’ve ever spent much time with anyone from the Mikell family, you know how important it is for us to get food when our bodies indicate that it’s time. It can get pretty ugly!! We enjoyed our lunch, had smiles on our faces, and headed of to find Ethiopian Airlines.

When we made it to the counter there was only 2 people in front of us, but it took quite a while. We had to check in and get our boarding passes and also got passes to the British Air Lounge where we currently are. There was a beautiful little Ethiopian boy in a stoller about 1-2 years old and we kept playing with him while his mom was having issues with the ticket guy. It made me long for my girls!!! Only a few more hours… The time in the lounge has passed pretty quickly. We have snacked, done some reading, enjoyed listening to the other conversations in the room (currently the Canadian Ambassador is giving travel advice and must see sites to a group of senior citizens on a tour together…we are taking notes) and watching CNN. I can’t remember the last time I sat for this long, and I’m sure it will be a LONG time before I get the chance again, so I’m trying to enjoy it. We have about an hour left before we head to begin boarding our flight to Addis Ababa !! We plan on taking our Lunesta, passing out and waking up in Ethiopia !! Until we are there….

Please Keep Us In Your Prayers!!



by Joy Portis on January 17, 2007

>This is a copy of her birth certificates. This will be her legal name until we re-adopt them after about 6 months. Then we will call her Zoe!

I Leave on the 27 to bring them home! Please pray for our safe travel and for room accommodations. There is a UN conference there at the same time and the only two American hotels (Hilton & Sheraton) are completely booked. I hoping for some cancellations:-)


>They are Officially Portis’

by Joy Portis on January 4, 2007

>We have been waiting to be assigned a court date, which we do not travel for but after which they are legally our children. Our agency closed the Friday before Christmas and didn’t return until January 2nd, but obviously things in Ethiopia were still moving. Today, January, 4th, while skiing in Colorado I received a message from Michelle, my case manager. I called her back and found out our court date was YESTERDAY, January 3rd, and it was successful so they are ours! Michelle thinks we will be assigned an Embassy date, which we travel for, the end of January. We probably won’t have more than 7-10 days notice before our Embassy date, so we will just wait!! THank you all for your prayers and support! We are so excited !


>Video of my GIRLS!

by Joy Portis on December 5, 2006

>These are from November when several people from our agency traveled to Ethiopia. The went down to Soddo and interviewed the children and got updated measurements. I am clinging to these every day until I can hear and see them in real life! It’s getting closer…….

Here is the link to the video of Emush (Emme)


This is the link to video of Tewabech (Zoe)


It’s not the greatest quality, but at least you can see them!!!


>Tewabech is in Addis

by Joy Portis on December 4, 2006


I have such mixed emotions! We were told Friday that Tewabech has been moved to the care center in Addis. I’m so excited to be one step closer, but I am sad that she has been taken from the only life and village she has ever known. I pray they are giving her the love and care she needs and I pray the Holy Spirit will comfort her and fill her with His love! I’m not sure is Emush is in Addis as well. My case worker assumed she was moved but is checking today to be sure. Hopefully we will have them both in our arms soon!

These are pictures I received today. They are taken of Tewabech at the care center in Addis.


>Our 171H came in the mail!!!

by Joy Portis on November 17, 2006

>The sweet lady in the USCIS office in Atlanta knew I have been waiting for months on our 171H and was so sweet to email me on the 9th to let me know that she had processed and approved out immigration clearance!!! It took a few days to get thru the system, but it came in the mail TODAY !!!! Now we can be assigned a court date!

One step closer!


>More New Photos

by Joy Portis on November 17, 2006


Several people from our agency spent two weeks in Addis Ababa and Soddo visiting the children, checking on the new care centers and meeting with government official, just to name a few things. While there they took pictures, video, new measurements and gave out care bags we had sent. As you can see in the picture, she is wearing the shirt we sent her in August. It looks like she has worn it every day for the last 2 months. I can’t wait to get my hands on her, fix her hair and put some pretty clothes on her. I cannot imagine what her days are like. We haven’t received her video or new measurements yet, but Cole’s amazing eyes were able to see that it looks like she is 50 inches tall. That’s 2 inches taller than Elizabeth. We were originally told she is 6-7 years old, but her teeth look like adult teeth, so Cole thinks she’s more like 10 years old. There goes putting her in 1st grade. Guess we will just wait and see! Please keep her in your prayers! She is going to be in for a HUGE culture shock!

The courts are open and there have been successful court dates, but the first round of Embassy dates are not until next week. The care center in Addis is full and that is why she is still in Soddo. Hopefully she will be moved after the first group bring their children off at the end of the month. Until she is moved to Addis Ababa we do not expect a court date. They will more than likely give court dates to those families who’s children are in the Addis Ababa care center first in order to frr up some room and be able to bring others up. I trust God’s perfect timing in all of this. We will just wait and see as He reveals His timing to us.

Thank you for your prayers!!



by Joy Portis on November 10, 2006

Soddo, Wolaita is 7 hours south of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Tewabech is currently living in this area with a neighbor. I would really love to visit this area when we travel to have an understanding of where she has lived and what her life has been like. We have been strongly advised against this. It is a long drive (7 hours one way)) and the roads are bad and there are no hotels there. There is a place we could stay, but there is no running water or electricity [do you really think Cole would go for that :)] It’s hard to even imagine what her life has been like. Days filled with hard labor, little food, no running water or electricity in a mud hut, fear of lions, hyenas, etc. She is about to face major culture shock. When our dossier arrives in Ethiopia (I’m mailing it to our agency tomorrow) they will bring her to CWA’s care center in Addis Ababa. While there they try to begin preparing them for their trip to the USA. She will probably be there 1-2 months before we get to travel and bring her home.

Steve Gardner, of Kingdom Kids, has video footage of the Soddo area and has promised us a copy when he finishes editing it. That way we will have an idea of what it is like and she will have it to remember and view when she grows up. Since they began the older child program they have gone to the area three time to interview children in need of homes. They plan to go every three months and expect to have around 200+ each time. Overwhelming!!! Do you have room in your house and heart for them?

Below are some links I have found with pictures, info, on the Sodo area





This is a link to a report on the many orphans in Africa. It’s really hard to even comprehend. It’s so easy to get consumed in our daily lives and not think of those in such need all over the world. I pray we would all find some way to help and not just forget these little ones.

CNN.com – Amanpour: World fails to save Africa’s AIDS orphans – Jul 19, 2006