Meeting Aster
My baby girl and me!

Our meeting with Aster this morning got bumped to 3pm this afternoon. It was a day of anticipation and also much needed rest. We actually went back to bed after breakfast and slept until 2pm. It was just what we needed!

It's what Aster needed too. When we got to the orphanage we found out she had a fever and a really bad cough. Two of her caretakers said she had the flu. This was very concerning with all that we went through last week with Andrew getting so sick, but I knew God wasn't surprised. I was so thankful we were taking Tamiflu as a precaution, which meant we could hold her without concern if she coughed on us.
She was so lethargic and and warm. I kicked into "mommy" mode asking them what her temperature was. if she'd been seen by a doctor and if anyone had listened to her lungs. They tried hard to reassure me that she was ok but I didn't have peace about it until the nurse came in and took her temperature. It was 100.4 under her arm. Then they handed me a baby Tylenol suppository to insert in her little bottom, and that was my introduction to mommy 101!

Bless her heart, she was so sleepy and unhappy. Not exactly the best condition for a baby who is being bombarded by the love and affection of four people she's never seen who act like they've known her forever! She kept looking at us like we were crazy. But we didn't care; we just kept holding her and loving on her.
Aster took an afternoon nap while we went to get something to eat and then we took her for a walk around the compound as we toured the orphanage. She wasn't happy at all and eventually started crying so we took her back to the baby area. That is when she started reaching for her two nannies. It was so sweet to see how much she loved them and found comfort in their arms.

As much as that could hurt my feelings, it TOTALLY didn't! I was so thankful she had bonded with them and was having separation anxiety. That is such a healthy emotion for a child who is being adopted. That assures us that she is able to bond emotionally and not too long from now she will feel that way about us.

The only thing I was concerned about is that Aster would not smile. Not at all. Not for anyone. No matter what we tried of how hard the caretakers tried. It broke my heart and made me wonder if something is wrong. Even if there is, I know God is sovereign over that too.

Aster is ours. God chose us for her, and her for us. That is one thing I know for sure.

God knew what I was thinking and wondering in those quiet places in my heart and He gave me a quick glance into the possibility of her smile. Right before bedtime I was feeding her a bottle and she started crying. She was looking around the room for Amanish. I gave Aster to her and she started playing with her and making her smile. Such a gift to this momma's heart!!

We decided it was best for Aster to get to know us over time and let her transition into our family so she is spending the night at the orphanage. We will go back there first thing in the morning and spend the whole day with her there. I can't wait to watch God transform her hesitant heart into a heart of joy and security because she knows she belongs to us, and ultimately that will lead her to the Love she longs for because she belongs to HIM!

Update: Please pray. Andrew is sick on his stomach. Joshua and I are also very nauseous. It was a long night with not much sleep. Took tamiflu on empty stomachs so praying that is the cause. Headed to orphanage and checking into guest house there. May not have internet the rest of the week but we'll try. Hugs!!!


Blogger Jess said...

Oh my gosh! I love all the pictures! So, so, so wonderful. Isn't He good! Isn't Aster gorgeous?!?!

Praying for you-


Blogger Whitney said...

Tearfully rejoicing with you!!! Praise Jesus! We'll keep you covered sweet friend. Keep the updates coming!

OpenID 6p00d834519c5969e2 said...

Oh, Renee! Our God is so amazing! I've been checking your blog all day waiting to see the new pictures. They are so heartwarming. (They bring back sweet memories for me!)

Lorie Newman

Blogger Oh Dear said...

Bless her heart! Oh what a day for all of you. Some happy fellas in those pictures!

Blogger Lysa TerKeurst said...

Oh Renee... she is precious. Even sick she is precious. I think her hesitant heart is only because she's sick. I am praying she feels better real soon.

And I totally see a smile in those last two photos!

I miss you so much and can't wait to try and hold Aster and watch her reach only for you... her mama!!!!

Blogger Wendy Pope said...

So thankful today for internet! I am thrilled for the "entire" Swope family.
Be safe and know you are loved and prayed for.

Anonymous Kristy Buescher said...

Renee, I am a fan of yours from last year's She Speaks conference. We adopted our son from Korea 5 years ago. It has been my joy & blessing to follow your blog. Thank you for posting the pictures and the update. God's richest blessings to you and your family in the coming days...

Kristy Buescher

Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for sharing the pics and the update as well - how amazing it is to watch this journey unfold! Praying things continue to go well and little Aster embraces the mommy and family GOD has for her! Looking forward to hearing more, Jill

She is precious Renee. What a little blessing. I am so impressed that you are looking at all of this and trusting God with each little thing that you see.

Blogger Debbie said...

Happy tears for you all! It is so good to know that God is sovereign in all things. What a precious day for you all...thanks for giving us a glimpse.

Blogger Bridget said...

What a sweet, sweet moment. Thanks for sharing it. We will be praying Aster feels better soon.

Blogger Wrinkled Shirts said...

Wow Renee,
I'm so thankful God has given you this amazing peace and knowledge to deal with Aster's transition into your family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
Paula G. <><

Hello Renee, Oh what wonderful pictures thanks for sharing them with us, the first picture i seen was the one of you holding Aster, How lovely the two of you look together perfect fit, A GOD FIT:) It is very evident to me and im sure everyone else who knows you and follows your blog that GOD GAVE ASTER TO YOU AND YOUR WONDERFUL FAMILY.

Its very clear to see that you love that precious little angel. I am praying for you all and i know that Aster will be so happy to have this family who adores her, will Protect and take care of her. FATHER GOD ALL PRAISE , HONOR AND GLORY GOES TO YOU, WE WILL NEVER STOP PRAISING YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. AMEN

Nova Scotia

Hello Renee, Oh what wonderful pictures thanks for sharing them with us, the first picture i seen was the one of you holding Aster, How lovely the two of you look together perfect fit, A GOD FIT:) It is very evident to me and im sure everyone else who knows you and follows your blog that GOD GAVE ASTER TO YOU AND YOUR WONDERFUL FAMILY.

Its very clear to see that you love that precious little angel. I am praying for you all and i know that Aster will be so happy to have this family who adores her, will Protect and take care of her. FATHER GOD ALL PRAISE , HONOR AND GLORY GOES TO YOU, WE WILL NEVER STOP PRAISING YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. AMEN

Nova Scotia

Blogger LeeAnn said...

Oh Renee, what a blessing God has answered your long awaited prayers. Aster is precious!

Excited and tearing up with you,

Lee Ann

Blogger Holly said...

She is beautiful Renee! I am so happy for all of you...cherished photos. Trusting she will get better very soon. She has a sweet smile...
love to you across the ocean -

Blogger faithWalker said...

Renee, she is so precious! Thank you for sharing your story and taking us along for the journey. We continue to pray for Aster's health and your bonding time together.


Blogger Rachel Olsen said...


Simply tremendous.

Blogger Leah Gillen said... excited to see these photos. I'm so overwhelmingly filled with joy for you and your family right now! I'm praying for Aster to recover quickly, so that this big event will be only that much sweeter! Your daughter is beautiful, and the smiles on all of your faces are precious!

Blogger JottinMama said...

Wow Renee!

I'm so amazed. It's incredible how you and your family stay so positive and faith-filled even through trying transitions. So awesome to read about!

I'm praying for you all!

Kate :)

Blogger Amy Carroll said...

I'm smiling from ear to ear at Aster's beautiful smile. I'll be praying for a great day with her tomorrow!


Blogger Melissa said...

I am just amazed! What a blessing....2 days ago praying for Andrew and then your luggage...and well, now look. It's Aster with her family. She is beautiful and loved her smile. I'll keep praying!


Oh Renee! She is just beautiful!

I loved seeing the smiles on all the Swopes faces! What joy! And Aster Swope will be grinning ear to ear and finding comfort in the bosom of her parents.

Praying she is 100% soon!

God gave you such wisdom today. Thank you for sharing your heart so honestly.

Much love and prayers

Blogger Gina said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Shari Braendel said...

Oh Renee she is so precious! I've been praying for you...for Andrew to get better...and for your trip. She is darling..just darling! I think she's gonna be tall like Aunt Shari! You look so happy...all of you'll keep you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I have followed your adoption journey for a while now and it is amazing to see Aster now a part of your family. Your love for her is obvious as you made the decision to give her time to get to know you. I am in tears seeing the beautiful pictures that God carefully construed.


This makes the heart brim, Renee...

*Spilling* with joy, gratitude, love with you, friend....

All's grace,

Blogger LEAH said...

Oh my goodness... she is so beautiful and you all look so happy too! Aster is definitely smiling in those last two pictures. No doubt the fever and cough must have her a little droppy though. No worries, Renee. Aster will have plenty to smile about when she gets home. Many happy moments await all of you.
Love & miss you!

Blogger awcamp said...

Love, love, love these pictures. Praying for God's provision to cover you in every circumstance and to heal your little Aster. She is beautiful and you are beautiful with her. Thank you for sharing this blessed journey.

Blogger Joyful said...

Oh Renee...the pictures speak volumes. Thanks for sharing them. I love the one of you holding your precious daughter. The delight on your face cannot be expressed in words.

As you continue to reach for the Lord and trust His guidance on this journey, Aster will be reaching for you. Praying the Lord will help her little heart make that transition. She's so precious.

Love, hugs and continued prayers,

Anonymous Shari said...

Just had to post a comment to my cuz, JJ -- what a proud Papa! Little Aster will be calling you Mama and Daddy in no time! Thanks for sharing all the great photos and updates. We're praying for all of you as you continue on your journey!!


Blogger Carol Davis said...

You are amazing. She is beautiful. Praying for a smile just for you tomorrow, friend.

Blogger Micca said...

Thanks for sharing this special day with us Swope family! I know meeting your little girl has been a long awaited moment. The joy that all of you are feeling leaps from the photos!

What a Happy Day! What a Miracle!

Rejoicing with you!!! And praying for Aster's health.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! SO beautiful!!!! Poor little sick baby girl!! I can't believe you gave her a suppository - oh, yes. Not the storybook meeting you had in mind huh!! But SUCH a mommy thing. Your initiation.

Yes, we are at the very beginning from adopting from ET - we are requesting an infant of either gender so hopefully we will be where you are (sans the suppository) by spring of '11.

I am SO happy for you Renee!!

Love and prayers for well babies who smile!


Blogger Renae said...

Oh my goodness!! She's absolutely PRECIOUS! I will be praying for a speedy recovery and LOTS of smiles for her Mommy!! This is what I worry about..we go to visit our daughter in November, but can't bring her home till February..I worry about the winter months spent in an orphanage..and whether she will get sick, etc...


Blogger Connie said...

Aster is beautiful...and you look so happy holding her! I am praying for an easy transition for her and your family.

Blogger Teresa said...

How absolutely AMAZING - to see all of you with your sweet, sweet baby! You are so careful and thoughtful in your love for Aster. I'm so excited for each of you. Praying for your journey.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found you through Lysa's blog - what a beautiful baby!!! Praying for you all to be well today. God bless you for being obedient - our God reigns!

Blogger "Miss" Clair said...

Just wanted to let you know that I prayed for you this morning and will continue to pray for your new family! Thanks for sharing what God is doing!


What a beautiful and exciting adventure God has you on. Your precious little girl is such an amazing gift from Him.

Will be praying for you all through this transition.

Much Love and Prayers,

Such a precious daughter God has chosen for you Renee!! Praying for all five of you this morning. Love,

Blogger B His Girl said...

What a blessing Renee! To finally hold your sweet little girl! She will fall in love with her family! Thank you for sharing this moment with us. May God continue to shine in all of you. You already look like a proud Mama holding her.

Blogger Renee said...

What an awesome God we have. Renee I will be praying for you and your family. Aster is precious and God is good! I will pray that your transition is wonderful and God will heal her from her bug and keep all of you healthy during this time.
God bless all you and keep you safe in your travels.
What a beautiful gift!
Covering you in prayer,

Blogger Jean said...

Oh, Lord, whatever the hurdles be glorified in this beautiful family. Help them OVER those hurdles. You've already filled Mom & Dad & borthers with your love. Now help little Aster to reach out and embrace them.

In Jesus' beautiful name,


Blogger Kimberly said...

Oh, Renee!

These are the pictures I have been so waiting for! I praise God that He has brought you all this far...and I praise Him for all He has in store!!!

I am praying for EVERYONE'S health! And I agree that Aster's hesitancy has so much to do with her feeling so bad. I am praying that her little heart will recognize quickly that your family is a safe, loving place to be. I am sure those smiles will soon flow in abundance!

Praying for you!
Lots of love,

Blogger Kelly Combs said...

Congratulations! So exciting. She is beautiful.

And tamiflu makes you very sick at the stomach! My husband & I both had to stop taking it, it made us so sick. We decided the flu would be more tolerable than the tamiflu.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aster is precious!! :) Praying for you and your family. From experience we know that satan doesn't like adoption and he will try any way possible to stop you. Be strong and in His mighty power you will win this battle. Blessings!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at your comments and your P31 team is such a wonderful blessing!!

Blogger Beth said...

Praying for good health and a wonderful day with Aster!!!

Blogger LeAnn said...

She is absolutely precious! I am so in love with her sweet round cheeks. I can't wait to kiss them! I am sorry that the trip is not the picture that you had in your mind but... I trust that God is in complete control. I will be praying for your beautiful new family all week and I can't wait to meet the new addition of pinkness!

Love You TONS!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following your story and those pictures from Sun. gave me goose bumps. Congratulations and I will continue to pray for health and healing for you whole family... praise and glory to God for all that's He's done so far. I don't even know you all, but am as excited for your family as though your my best friend. God is amazing!

What a beautiful baby to complete your beautiful family. She is blessed, as are you. I will pray today that you will all be healed quickly from this flu bug and that you can head home with your gorgeous daughter soon.

Just yesterday I went to a baby shower for a friend who has just adopted twin boys from Ethiopia. What a joy to see those little boys being quickly integrated into their family. God is good and will do that for you too, Renee. So exciting!!!

Blogger Missy said...

Hi Sweet Renee and Family
I have been praying soo much. Praying more specifically now! She is so precious - can't wait to touch her in person.
Jesus, be with you!!

Blogger Redeemed1 said...

God is so good! Aster is so precious!
I will be praying as she transitions into your family.

Anonymous Becky P said...

I can't see to type...tears of joy fill my eyes. What a glance into heaven you are allowing me to witness. The rain here are tears of rejoicing from the saints that are looking on at your beautiful new family and your new one that is now in your arms.
Claiming blessings and wellness over this trip!
Love you friend(s)!

Blogger Becky P said...

Hope you have a great day today!!!

Blogger Digging for Pearls said...

Great photos Renee. What an exciting week for you all. Just wanted you to know that you are in my prayers.


Blogger jodi @ back40life said...

praying for you on this beautiful journey!

Blogger Leah DiPascal said...

Hi everyone,
I'm Renee's assistant. This morning we received an email from the Swope Family. Andrew is sick again but this time he's worse. Renee and Josh are feeling bad also. Please pray for them today. I know that God wouldn't want anything to spoil this precious time of bonding with Aster. Please pray that God would restore health to the entire family so they can continue with their plans this week and return home safely.

Leah DiPascal

She is beautiful! Praying for your family.

Anonymous Sandy M. said...

Like so many others, I am praying for you & your whole family (including Aster!) I had to chuckle when I read about Aster not smiling... When our 1st grandchild was a baby/toddler, she was quite serious, & didn't smile really often. But that was just her young personality. By age 3 she had changed so much. Now at 10, she is joyful, smiles easily & readily, & is one of the sweetest caring little gals you could meet. Everyone who meets/knows her comments on what a sweet child she is & how polite she is, yet converses easily with adults & gets along with other children just great. Sorry this was so long... I just wanted to encourage you! I'm praying for your health & for your bonding with Aster this week. As a former foster mom of newborns, I can tell you that indeed it is healthy for a baby to bond with the foster mom so that they can transition in the bonding process to their new mom. Praise God for those moms who have shown her love & shared her young life so far!

Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Oh such precious pictures. So sorry everyone's a bit under the weather. Praying that today will be a sweet and restful time for all, and that Aster will just feel your love!

Blogger Sue Heimer said...

Renee, Thank you for the pictures and update. She is a cutie! Praying for smiles and bonding in the days to come. Also, for everyones health!

Hugs across the miles....Sue

Blogger God's Grace said...

God Bless you Renee and I pray you are all feeling well. I pray for little Aster's heart as well. We were just given our precious Haitian son 2 weeks ago. He went directly to Dupont Children's hospital as he was so severly sick. It was found that he has sickle cell. He's home now and doing much better.

I pray you all will bond during this time.

Blogger Wanda said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!
What an exciting time!
Praying for healthy bodies and sweet Aster as she adjusts to her new life. are so loving!

Anonymous Dawn Wilson said...

I always wanted to adopt; my husband did not. Now I am almost 60 and those days are past, but I am looking for ways to love on children who need me nearer to my home. I am so thankful for obedient women like you and Lysa (TerKeurst) who hear God's voice and count the cost of obedience ... and then obey with gladness of heart. Blessings to you, and praying for Aster. (PS - Aster comes from the Greek word for "star." May your little girl come to know Jesus, and shine brightly for Him like the stars of heaven. Here are some scriptures on the stars: Ps. 8:3; Ps. 147:4; Is. 40:26; Song of Sol. 6:10 - there are many more.) God, who knows each star by name, knows and loves your little "star," too!

Blogger Runner Mom said...

Oh, bless your hearts!! I'll be praying for all of the Swopes! I pray that you will all feel better soon!!

Renee...oh, what a doll!! Just precious! THank you for sharing these wonderful family pics with us. Y'all continue to be in our prayers. Keep the updates coming, please!

Love you!

Blogger Monica said...

I believe that God wanted me to say this to you...

"You are good because I am good!

I hope it makes sense to you. God bless you. I will be praying for you and your family and Baby Aster! She is just beautiful! Congratulations!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is beautiful:) I am praying for you and your family. I pray the rest of your week is without any sickness or sick feelings. I also lift up Aster and hope she is feeling much better soon. God is amazing, His timing is Perfect. Thanks for sharing with us. I had tears as I saw the picture of you and your precious daughter.

Blogger 20 Times A Lady said...

I am praying for you and your family :) What a precious gift she is. Before you know it she'll be reaching for your arms.

I wish you and your family all the best on this journey. Take lots and lots of pictures!

Blogger Elaine said...

WOW!!! Loved hearing about your sweet baby Aster! She is beautiful.

Anonymous Marie said...

What a beautiful child. And what an exciting journey for you and your family.

I will be praying for you all (and I hope you guys feel better soon.)

Blogger Pat said...

Renee, she is beautiful, just beautiful. Hang on to your rest in God's plan sweet friend. We are all praying and pressing in on your behalf. Thank you so much for the update.I was watching Twitter this weekend and hoping to hear how things are!
We love you girl!! All is well!

Blogger On Purpose said...

What a joy and privilege it is to live vicariously through you and your family! Praying that you all will feel better...and hoping the upset tummies are butterflies of excitement and nerves. Trusting and knowing God is taking GREAT care of all of you...she is SO precious...I could just squeeze her little cheeks...thank you for sharing this part of your journey and heart!

Blogger Frances said...

Hi! My name is Frances Worthington and we are adopting a little boy from Uganda. We will travel to meet him in about 6 months!! We will be praying for you. Isn't it so exciting?? We just can't wait to meet him! Your little one is precious!

Frances Worthington
Desert Flower Ministries

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story! Our daughter and son-in-law just returned Friday from Ethiopia with their two new children! They are so precious (ages 10 & 5) All is going well! God is so Good!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and God's blessings to your new family. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Aster is a doll!! I will continue to pray that everyone feels 100%, including Aster.


Blogger Proverbs 27:19 said...

Oh Renee! Aster is so beautiful! Well she was beautiful in all the previous photos you shared, but there is something different with these photos, in a good way, maybe it's just that you all are in the photos with her!

I love the careful positioning of your hand on her back for support. Wow, many blessings to you all!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying thankful prayers that you have all been united with Aster and hopeful prayers that you will all be nausea-free. Can you get ahold of any ginger? Even Ginger-flavored Altoids will settle a tummy, but ginger tea is best. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your beautiful new daughter with us!
God bless you all!

Blogger emily said...

AHHH!!! She is so beautiful! I'm so glad you wrote this update. Your family has been on my mind so much since you left Friday. can't wait to hear more!

Anonymous Helen Martin said...

As I read this, I loved the Tamiflu "God-incidence"... and, not to go all Ned Flanders on you, but it might be a blessing that she was little under the weather... sometimes when I am feeling ill I don't have the energy to be anxious.

All your love and enthusiasm might have been overwhelming to her, but her "depressed" state could have allowed her to sort sit back inside herself and take it all in. It seems so cool to me that God would work it out that way.

God makes things like flu scares into perfectly orchestrated details. Gotta love it. Gotta love Him. And oooooh ya gotta love that little girl's face!

Blogger Shanda said...

Rejoicing with you that you are able to hold Aster in your arms! Also praying for health for all and continued protection, safety, and smoothness of processes!!

Blessings to you all!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for good health for all of you. Pictures of Aster are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story-so heartwarming and inspiring. God is so good. Erin

Blogger Lelia Chealey said...

She is SO GORGEOUS!!!! Please give her lots of kisses from all of us. :)

Blogger ImaFriendofGod said...

Miss Renee & family,

Take a moment to think of the magnitude of your journey. So many decisions, prayers, upsets, delights. The anticipation of meeting Miss Aster alone must have been overwhelming. Rest assured that God would not have put you there if it was not His plan. She will bond with each of you when she's ready (little girls are like that). You will light up that little face with a smile that will make our hearts melt for you.

Try to rest when possible so that you can be healthy enough to not only cherish your daughter but also carry her with you to pray over the other children before you leave there.

Miss Aster may not be smiling as big as you'd like on the outside but I guarantee she's smiling in her heart. She is a miracle. God's gift to you.

Blessings for a safe journey home.

Blogger lisasmith said...

praising God for your little Aster and praying for her to be in perfect health!!!

Blogger Betsy said...

Praying for you all! Aster is so beautiful! But-so is the rest of your family. God be with you! Betsy

Blogger Danielle said...

How precious! You guys look so good together. I am praying for you all with this attack from the devil. God will be glorified!

I love Aster's onesie! GO YANKS!!(sorry, had to.)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/07/09 (2:51p.m. EST) Still praying for you all. Glad to hear that everyone is on the mend. I'm staying updated from your twitters even though I don't twitter.

Blogger debi said...

Hi Renee... Debi Howey here... and Carolyn Barrett is with me and another friend in the car... (Butch is driving!) We are on our way back home from a small event with JFilm... tell you about it later.. anyway... we enjoyed reading about your journey and also seeing Aster... we were all 'ooing and ahhhing' while Butch was driving and wanting to see the pictures too!! We are praying for you all right now!! (well... after I'm done writing)... hugs, love & prayers... debi, Carolyn & Donna

oh my gosh, I am bawlin my eyes out with joy for you holding your princess! :) PTL! I so remember that day with Noah and look forward in FAITH to that day with Jeremiah! Can't wait to read more :) thanks for pics :)

God bless,
Believing in FAITH God will provide funds to bring Jeremiah home

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