Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Process is L-O-N-G

We are working on our homestudy right now and I am just struck by all the paperwork involved right now. Truly, I am just impatient to have our child home already. In this process, it is more than worth the time spent on all the details, but I just want my child right now. I want questions of who he or she is answered. I just want the first meeting and to take my child home on the 30 hour plane ride and come HOME for good. Will we have a boy or girl? How old will they be? What will their smile be like? What little quirks will they have? What will I feel when I see him or her? What will parenting be like? I am ready, but of course, not really. Waiting waiting waiting. God please give John and I strength, wisdom and courage for this long process. I need Your peace.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I feel the need to clarify something. More than one person has asked me why we are not considering adopting from the U.S.
What is necessary to understand first is God's calling. I cannot express how profoundly called we feel to international adoption, specifically Ethiopia. All children are equal and God desires for all of them to find homes. I cannot tell you how many times a day I think about and pray for our child. They are our child already, regardless of whether they have been conceived yet or not. He or she is our family.
I think it is important to clarify the suffering these children go through. At the bottom of our blog, there are statistics that outline what suffering occurs. To sum up, these children are subject to extreme poverty, very low life expectancy, AIDS, witnessing the death of hundreds around them, as no hospitals have medicine to help, child slavery, forced prostitution, malnutrition, torture, brainwashing, and the list goes on. How could you NOT believe these children need to be helped? Also, there is not infrastructure in Africa to help these children as there is in the United States. They are orphaned by the millions, with hardly anyone coming to their rescue. The government does not even know they exist, they have no social security numbers, and most of the time they do not even know their birthdays. The hospitals don't really even keep a record of it.
I watched a video, The Invisible Children, where the suffering of the children of Africa is documented and children are interviewed. The little children say "don't forget about us when you go back to America. We are human beings too". I can't express to you how much these words haunt me. I DO NOT FORGET. As a Christian, I believe we are human beings and children of God first. The country you were born in pales in comparison to God's plan. We are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel, defend and protect the orphans. My Christianity and sense of God's calling does not stop at the borders of the U.S. My child is stuck in Ethiopia, and we need to get him or her out.

To my child:

I am praying for you everyday. I love you. I can't change what happened in your life before I met you, but I am determined through God's grace to do everything I possibly can to nurture you and help you become the adult of God He wants you to be. You are my child and I love you unconditionally already. It makes my heart break to think of the things that you might be going through. I am waiting for you. I am here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

First Fundraiser

We put together a Baked Goods booth for a Harvest Hoedown our church was having at a lovely barn, farm, nursery location, called the Windmill in Florence. Adorable place. All proceeds from the booth of course go directly to our adoption fund, and my mom, sister, grandmother and mother-on-law helped by making goodies and finding all the supplies needed. It was such a great success and I was mostly encouraged by the auotmatic support people gave us. God is so good. I am uplifted by this experience and the heart, encouragement, and experiences that people have had that God is using to lift us up and remind us that He has a plan for us. And it is a really exciting and awesome one! We are busy planning our next fundraisers, paperwork for our homestudy, and learning alot of about the culture and how to raise a child in a multiracial home. My mind is in constant process mode, trying to feel like I have a handle on everything. I admittedly feel overwhelmed most of the time, and that I am in a surreal world, that God has chosen us for this. God is good, that is all I can say. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's next...

Ok, so I am processing everything and we got our adoption agreement in the mail today, along with the paperwork for our dossier. Also coming to us in the mail is our application for our home study. Basically, if you are unfamiliar with international adoption, our initial application is kind of like being accepted into college. They let you in, but you have to work and earn that degree and it takes alot of time and money and prayer. So, that being said, we got all this paperwork, which includes everything under the sun, such as employer, medical, financial verification, parenting classes, references, biography for each parent, home study checklist, including fire safety stuff, how we were raised as children, how we will raise our child, how much we know about Ethiopian culture, passports, papers to the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Ethiopia and other places explaining our reason for adopting, specific photographs, forms for Citizenship and Immigration Servies.... and the list goes on. Most of that, if not all of it, makes sense, although it is very time consuming.
Requirements that may be surprising include not taking staples out of your Dossier (BIG paperwork to go to Ethiopia) because they will deny you and we would lose $3,500 just for taking staples out to make a copy. Obviously, I won't be taking staples out... Culturally concerns were interesting as well, including past issues Ethiopia has had with Americans. Because of past issues, parents are not allowed to take their newly adopted child out in public where there are a lot of people. Also, in Ethiopian culture, babies are usually tightly wrapped and covered and it is a cultural norm for someone to tell you to cover the baby or just do it for you. The advice was to accept this help with grace. Their social customs are quite modest, upholding dignity, and very polite. I'm really looking forward to visiting and meeting people.

I am enjoying reading about the culture and customs. Their calendar is not the same as ours. They did not adjust when the Pope changed to the Gregorian calendar to make sure Easter always fell around the same time it did in the Bible. I found that interesting.
Their holidays are mostly based in Christian events, although some that I had not heard of.
Teskel celebrates the discovery of the cross of Christ, according to a 4th century story. Another holiday celebrates the Baptism of John the Baptist.

I ordered a book about Ethiopian culture and one about raising children in a bi-racial family, so I will definitely be learning a lot more soon.

Financially, I am stressed out. I know God will provide, and I really need to trust Him, but I had a meltdown earlier this evening. Please pray that the finances will come together.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


There has been interest in how to support God's plan in this adoption process. Of, the biggest thing you can do is pray. We ask for prayer for our child and for our child's birth parents. Aids, starvation, and poverty cover Ethiopia like the plague. Please pray for protection for our child and his or her birth parents. Next, pray for wisdom in the process of paperwork, planning for being parents, and all the complicated steps we must go through. Honestly, it is extremely daunting and invasive, and only through God can we complete this process and bring home the child God has enstrusted to us.

Financially, we do need support. The cost of adoption is by no means inexpensive and we will realy on fundraising, creative thinking and action, and lots of hard work to bring home our child. Please know that whatever you give is needed and we are extremely grateful for it. You can go to our blog and donate through Paypal if you would like, and also we have two fundraisers set up on the blog. You can buy coffee from Ethiopia, Uganda, or Nicaragua and a portion for the sales go to our adoption. Also, my sister Melissa has designed some adorable adoption tshirts, onesies, and totes on the cafe press link on our blog. Check them out!

We are extremely grateful to you and feel your support.

Praise God!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Application Approved!

We received confirmation on Wednesday, October 13, that our application for adoption from Ethiopia has been approved! This is the first step in the long process we will journey on to bring home our child. We got the email from our consultant through CHI and in big caps in the title of the email it said APPLICATION WAS APPROVED BY CHI HOME OFFICE. I can't tell you how happy those words make us.
Just to clarify, there are MANY forms and processes to go through before we will truly be "approved". This is just the beginning. John spoke with the Ethiopian program director, who gave some follow up information and we will be receiving our next few steps of more specific directions. Next up is the adoption agreement, which by itself costs $900 and our home study. We also need to get our passports prepared, fingerprinting done, first-time parenting classes, online classes, and some other forms to fill out. After all that, we can start on our dossier (which is the paperwork that will go to Ethiopia!). It is time consuming, expensive, and we are simple in awe and humbled by God that He would choose to use us in this way.

If you would like to see more specifically that process and details of our adoption, you can go to Children's Hope International's website and click on the Ethiopian program.

Please keep us in your prayers, pray for the biological mother and father of our child, and for our child. I pray they are safe and that they find God.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1, 2010

Not much is going on right now. We're just waiting for the dr.'s letter to come in the mail and then we're mailing out our application. I just want to document how much wait time there is. I know this will be the majority of what we do is simply wait, pray, and try to come up with and carry out fundraising ideas. It is in these times that I do alot of thinking and praying.

My big prayer right now is that we have the financial resources to fund this process. It's SOO expensive and that can be frustrating and daunting, especially in this economy. We are brainstorming and planning, so please keep this in your prayers. Just one thought of our child and what God is saving them from through this adoption keeps us more than fueled to keep going. God has good and big plans for us :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

So we are almost finished with our application, just waiting on a letter from our Dr and out it goes in the mail! I'm so anxious to "get this show on the road". Fundraising is a primary focus at this point, as well as soon preparing for the home study. My sister Melissa has been really helpful in the fundraising process and a big support, woot woot to you sister :) Also, my mom has been collecting cute nursery stuff for a while for me and gave it to me the other day, super special! There was even a blanket she made in jr high that we plan to use. Also, my dear friend Gabbee, who in the midst of being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a double masectomy, bought me my baby's first blanket and this wonderful baby book for adoptive families. These gifst are so encouraging, as it makes it feel real and I know I have the support of dear family and friends.

We feel we have been really on the learning curve for understanding how the process works, what to start to expect, time frames, and all that jazz. I have connected with a couple families who have adopted, one from Ethiopia specifically and that is really a good support. It's great to talk with adoptive families, because the information is so different and SO helpful. As this adventure is not one many people travel down, it can feel lonely and scary, so connecting with these people is a Godsend.

We had a great initial conversation with out consultant through CHI. She is a great lady who has adopted internationally three times and obviously has a passion for this. We talked for over an hour and discussed everything from qualification requirements to costs, to hair and skin care for our child, as well as what it is like to bring home your child. She is down to earth, encouraging, and practical for what we will face. She is clear on requirements, so we are not surprised and that everything goes right the first time. When the conversation ended, I felt like that had been a God moment and felt peace and excitment! God is good, all the time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5, 2010

Update time!

The biggest update is that John and I are looking at Children's Hope International at Ethiopia. The story behind this is interesting, and I believe God-inspired. We were pursuing buying a larger house and renting our current house out. The lady we were planning to buy from is a teacher at the school I work at. When I talked to her, I felt led to explain to her that we were pursuing the house in order to prepare for adopting and starting our family. When I told her, she said "oh my gosh, I have goosebumps. My husband and I tried for three years to adopt. It didn't work out for us, but it makes me so happy to think of my house being used for that". It was such a God moment. She went into more detail about how we need to make sure we are working with a good agency. She recommended Hope International, and she was SO right so far! Sadly, it's not working out for us to buy that house because it's too financially risky for the agency to approve us, but I KNOW God has plans :)

We have been in communication with a consultant from CHI, who is really helpful with information, regarding finances, the process, paperwork, etc. Can I just say it is NOT easy. These are our labor pains. I am glad it is not easy because it means more when we have to work for it and it will mean more. When I start to feel overwhelmed by everything ahead of us, all I think about is a child from a documentary we watched called "Invisible Children", about children in Uganda, and what they go through. Their suffering is horrific, as they go into hiding in order to escape being forced into the child army constructed for overturning the government and torturing and murdering. The older children who speak English speak out about how they want people to know they exist at least. One child said "Maybe you won't remember us, but if in a month you can remember us, please pray". I REMEMBER everyday and am waiting to take our baby out of that.

So, we're starting to tell people, which is REALLY fun. One of my favorites has been telling some of the teens in our youth group. Their reaction was so supportive and excited! They are arguing over who gets to babysit, what sports our kid will play, and what we should name him or her.

It is so much fun researching the history of Ethiopia and looking at pictures of Ethiopian babies, trying to guess what he or she will look like. We think it will be a boy because the waiting time is shorter for boys right now.

Anyway, here are my thoughts, put together or not :) God is good, all the time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Beginning

Today John and I mailed our pre-application for international adoption. That is a big sentence. Ta-da! There it is.

So here's the story.

John and I believe God has called us to adopt internationally. John has always been open to the idea. His father adopted him and it has been great. He has such a big heart and I remember him asking me what I thought about adoption the first year we were married. I was hesitant at first. In fact, I think I said "Never". I think much differently now.

Truly, I think back and see how God has been working in me all along. I vividly remember playing missionary to Africa, caring for my dolls, on my back deck when I was 6. I have always had a passion for missions, but have never been able to go. I think adoption is the mission God has given me. God has really been working on my heart to ready me for this. And here it is.

Are we adopting because we can't have children? No. John and I have given both up to God and said we are ready and willing for either one. One does not replace the other. It is simply different and yet the same. Each child is equally important and desired by God and us.

Okay, so my initial thoughts are

I can't contain my excitement!
I am scared to death.
I don't care that I'm scared to death because I'm so excited.


I'm excited because I have found my passion. God has shown me His purpose. I have given my idea of a family up to God and He has put a new song in my heart. He has replaced my sadness with joy, wonder, and hope for the future.


I'm nervous because I have no idea what parenting will be like.
I'm nervous because I feel like a pioneer and novice in this process.
I'm nervous because, what if I mess up?
I'm nervous because I'm afraid my baby won't love me back.

To my baby:

I love you. I can't wait to kiss your little feet and just pick you up from that crib in the orphanage and put you in the one I laid in as a baby. You are probably not even born yet, but I know about you and God does too. We love you. I am praying for you. God is making plans for you already. I promise His plans are the best.

I am planning your nursery and want to buy all your clothes and shoes. I wonder what you will look like. I wonder what it will be like when we meet.

I desperately want you to know the God of my life. He is good, I promise you.