What a roller coaster of emotions this year has started off to be. We've hit some of life's highest highs and lowest lows already in 2011. 
It all started about a month ago when we made our first trip to Ethiopia. Getting there was no picnic, but we arrived in Ethiopia exhausted and so very ready to meet our little girl. It was a real adventure getting from the airport to the guest house and I had my first feeling that we might be taken to a dark alley and killed for our possessions. (It didn't happen) We arrived at the guest house and met two amazing couples, the Giddens and the Quinns and their precious, new daughters. We were hoping Zoe would join all of us right away, but we found out that we wouldn't get to meet her until the next morning. Disappointing, but it gave us great time with the other couples as we got to know them, talk about our adoption journeys and become lifetime friends. The next morning we went straight to meet Zoe. Just before we arrived, her birth-mom had been there to say goodbye. So, Zoe was crying, but she took to Tori instantly and we rode back to the house taking pictures while giving her suckers and cheap plastic jewelry. It was so fun.
Then, we went to court, which went so smoothly and quickly. Afterward, they told us that Zoe's birth-mom wanted to come back with us to say goodbye and take pictures, because they had never taken a picture. It is hard to imagine not having a picture of your child...we already have dozens of Zoe that we cherish. So, from the courthouse, we were shuffled into a van with strangers and Zoe's birth-mom. This was the second time I thought we might be taken to a dark alley and killed for our possessions. (Again, it didn't happen) The ride back was spent learning anything we could about Zoe. Her birth-mom said the only thing she wanted for Zoe was that she have the opportunity to learn. We promised she would be educated and go to college. After we arrived back at the house, we spent the most wonderful time with Zoe's birth-mom and she had the chance to say goodbye, tell Zoe we were her new parents and she physically handed Zoe over to Tori. It was the most beautiful time we could ever have imagined and something we will never forget. 
Later that day we got the devastating news that we did not pass court. We were heartbroken, but were given a new court date 10 days later. The next couple of days, however, we were amazing. All our expectations were blown away by our little Ethiopian diva. She was not shy or sad, like every picture, video and description had shown. Zoe lives up to her new name as she is so very full of life. She loves to sing, dance and giggle. She also loves to throw major tantrums like the average 3 year old. Her first major fit was absolutely no fun for us, but it gave us a good taste of what is to come. For the majority of our time together, she was so entertaining and extremely loving. She totally understood what was happening and called us Mommy and Daddy the whole time. She never passed a mirror she didn't like and she loved anything pink or sparkly. She is going to fit in our family just perfectly. She is really awesome. We are so blessed to have spent those few days with her. 
Taking her back to the orphanage was the most difficult thing we've ever done, ever. We had just spent several days with her, fell more in love with her and then had to leave her in an Ethiopian orphanage. Zoe was actually happy with all the kids there but we were a total mess. She waved goodbye with a huge smile on her face, while we sobbed uncontrollably. We made the long journey home missing her terribly every single day. It was pure joy meeting her and then absolute torture leaving her.
We waited the ten days for our new court date. Everyone we knew and everyone they knew were promising to pray for us. We had a sleepless night, checking email every hour. As the day went on, we thought we'd never get any news! Finally we got word from our agency that we had been given the wrong court date. Devastated again. We would have to wait ten more days. This was putting us 3 weeks behind the original schedule of bringing her home. 
Finally our new court date arrived, February 7. Many more prayers and another sleepless night. Then we got another email...we did not pass. We thought we had prepared ourselves for failure, but we were devastated again. Devastated, yet again. We spent most of the day in bed, depressed and trying to make sense of it all. Tori handled it her way, on the phone, talking things through with her mom, her sister, her dad, her mom, her sister, her mom, her sister... over and over again, while I handled it my way, talking to no one,  simply texting my family and trying to sort through it in my own mind by myself. 
The next morning we woke up, a little late, to the email with our new court date... MARCH 15! SIX WEEKS! It was like a sucker punch to the gut. All the wind out of our sails. Our feet knocked out from under us and every other cliche for utter disappointment you can think of. We spent another day in the bed, feeling even worse than before. Tori spent time on the phone again. I called my dad and had him spread the word for me. We were ready to hop a plane back to Ethiopia, but there is absolutely nothing we can do but wait.
Today, nothing in our world seems quite right. We seem to be getting farther away from our Zoe every single day. We thought we would be bringing her home mid-March and now we are just hoping to pass court by then, before we start 8 more weeks of waiting. We just want her here.  My heart pains for Zoe. I pray everyday that her spirit is not broken while she lives in the orphanage. The little girl we met was so confident, independent and full of life. I pray that is the girl we return to one day very soon. As Tori says, "we are here, but she is dare," and nothing about that seems right.
To be honest, we are impatiently waiting. All the while, we've had so many kind and loving words from friends and family, encouraging us daily. We know that she will not be here with us one day sooner than the Lord has scheduled, but this week, as hard as we try, we just don't understand God's perfect timing. We know that, years from now, we will look back on these days and they will just seem like a short blip of time. These months will go by and then she will come home FOREVER. But this week, we are sad, we are sad, we are very, very sad.
The days ahead are busy days. Hopefully the business will keep our minds occupied so that the time passes quickly. Still, each day we live with the wonderful torture of holding our little girl and leaving her behind. We wouldn't trade a single moment that we got to spend with her, but it makes every moment without her even harder than before. She is ours and we are hers and we will do whatever it takes to bring her home as soon as possible. 
For now, we wait. We wait, we wait, we wait. It is the hardest thing we have ever done, but still we wait for the wonderful day that the Lord has planned for us to be reunited and our family will be whole.
So, as we wait on God's perfect timing we thank Him and praise Him for our precious, Ethiopian diva and I pray Isaiah 40:31 over the three of us:
"Yet those who wait for the LORD
         Will gain new strength;
         They will mount up with wings like eagles,
         They will run and not get tired,
         They will walk and not become weary."

Thank you for your love and support as we continue on our journey. Thank you for talking about things with us and not talking about things with us. Thank you for praying with us/for us. Thank you for waiting with us. We love you all very much.