Saturday, April 23, 2011

Time to blog again :)

Well, I haven't blogged for a while. There is a lot of wait time in this process. Here are two updates of good things going on in our journey.
The first is that we have started attending a support group for families adopting from Ethiopia. This is a great resource, not only for parents, but also for our children to have support from each other and a place where they are understood in a way that others may not understand or know how to support. We LOVE it :) It is a monthly get together, informal and at houses or parks and we eat dinner and chat. We have gone twice now, and I can't decide which I like more: talking to other moms or seeing the children and how beautiful the families are just being together and natural. The first time I went and saw all the kids, I just was so impressed with the feeling of how incredibly precious and special they are. I LOVE Ethiopian adoption!! :D
So the other good news is OUR HME STUDY HAS GONE THROUGH THE COURST AND IS APPROVED!!! This is what we have been waiting on to move onto the final phase with our Dossier!! We are Sooo close :) Basically, we have some more fingerprinting to do, lots of papers to compile and have all notarized, and finish up our HAGUE training hours... With God all things are possible and we see the light at the end of the tunnel of paperwork.

On a side note, I am now starting to slowly collect items for our baby. :) It's fun to start this part of the process and buy clothes that will eventually get baby drool on them <3 It is really theraputic for me to see this visual of clothes, blankets, and stuff like that.
Anyway, that is the update for now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just another day in the process of international adoption...

ok, so yesterday I receieved a link that I posted on my wall about Ethiopia decreasing international adoptions by 90%. This basically means that the amount of cases that go through the courts each day will go from 50-5...... what next, huh?
Of course I was really upset and just felt so frustrated and dissappointed. Now, the general reasoning behind this is that child trafficking occurs on the part of countries when dealing with internation adoption. It is so horrific and dehumanizing. Some children are literally kidnapped from their homes, lied to that they are getting a good education and will later return home, or their parents are told they will receive financial support from the adoptive parents. All these scenarios are more are under the umbrella of child trafficking. Thankfully, the Ethiopian government is trying to decrease and eliminate child trafficking, so I do applaud their effort. However, this of course leads to the question of what does this mean for those in the process of adopting from Ethiopia?
I had a great conversation with our consultant this evening. She is a Christian woman who I highly respect. She first and foremost told us to pray before listening to her advice or any other sources. While she believes this information is relatively valid, Children Hope International (CHI) (our adoption agency) has not yet received an official letter from the Ethiopian gov't. When that happens, they will have all the facts and will send out a mass update.
Furthermore, our consultant went over the possible scenarios. Worst case, Ethiopia could shut down for a time for international adoptions, or the wait could be significantly longer. Better case, that the Ethiopian court judges will see that they can actually process more cases per day than 5.
We are definitely hoping and praying for the latter.
While there is awful actions in regards to child trafficking, the flip side of the coin is that there are millions of true orphans in need of families to love the
I cannot begin to express my emotional state about this. I will say this, I am MORE THAN EVER committed to Ethiopia and MORE affirmed that this is where my child is. God is making that VERY clear to me.
You know those TV commercials that have pictures of children in way torn countries that ask you to contribute to helping, by a guy with a white bead with his button down shirt, sleeves rolled up, holding an adorable and horrifically sad 4 year old girl? You know how you have this feeling of sadness for them, almost consider donating, and then change the channel or flip the TV switch off? Well, my switch is never turned off to my child. I think of him all day, pray for him and his mom constantly. There is a really graphic picture of a child in Ethiopia (probably a 1 yr old), lying face down, emaciated in the dirt, naked, with a vulture behind him. That picture haunts me everyday. every single day I pray that that wont be my child, that his mother will survive and that he can send her pictures, and maybe even one day meet her.

That is all for today. Please pray for my child. Pray for his mother. pray for us to have patience, which sounds really selfish in light of the first two requests.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where to even start today??

I really need to blog and just talk through my thoughts prayers and emotions... sigh. I'm tired, inspired overwhelmed, heartbroken, and joyful all at the same time. I knew this would be emotional and difficult, but it's been really hard recently. It takes some serious stamina.

Well, lets start with the second home study. Yay! That went well. Our social worker asked us questions this time about ourselves, describing our personality, interests, upbrining, education and whatever else, I don't remember it all. I really like our social worker, just as a side note. She is professional and encouraging at the same time. She compiled her report and sent it to us. We and our consultant are proofing it and then it will get sent through the Pinal County Court (unfortantely she said this county can takes its time... oh well )
Anyway, that should take about a month if we make good time, and then the big push for Dossier paperwork. where EVERYTHING has to be notarized.

We've been taking courses on adoption, including specifics of African adoptions, attachment and bonding and transition issues, temporary delays resulting from orphanage care and abandonment. It's been REALLY helpful to take these classes, as we now more than ever realize how important it is to purposefully bond with our child and intervene early in order to reteach and help our baby become healthy emotionally relationally physically and whatever else "lly".

One interesting piece of information (and I don't know why i remember this now more than anything in the african countries course) is that Ethiopia does not record birthdays, so it is highly unlikely that our child will know their birthday. My answer is to celebrate the meeting day, adoption day, and estimated birthmonth. Who would have thought to add this to the mix of everything else?

Anyway, what I'm really thinking about today is my child's birthmother. During church I was completely overcome with thinking about her and my heart feeling very heavy and grieving for how she must be feeling or will feel in the near future. Whatever life events will bring her to the point of being unable to care for the child she desperately loves is unspeakably hearbreaking. I am convined that today, February 27, 2011 is a big day in her life and my child's life in some way. I don't know what it is, but in the middle of singing on stage in church, all I could pray was "God, please don't let her die". I have been wondering how it will happen that my child will come to me, what will happen that will cause this to happen, and God showed me that I can and NEED to pray for her. Maybe no one else is. I feel this attachment to her and had this image of her as I was running later, of this tall, strong high cheek boned woman, with a really tired face, but still strong on the inside, full of pride. I just imagined meeting her and what I could possibly say to her. As I was running, I was trying to pray words, and found I was at a loss for what to say. So i just prayed over and over "God, please keep Noah's mother safe". I can't even express how heavy my heart is for her. Thinking of her, the amount of responsibility and importance for our child is even greater. I am beginning to understand how urgently and desperately i will love my child, as I see my sister with her new baby girl.
So John and I have decided to fast for our child and the birth mother. i have never really fasted before and am excited to fast for the first time for something so important and meaningful.

So, there are lots of prayer requests. First our child and the birthmother. Next, for us, that God will guide us and mold us to become specifically who He wants us to be for our child and that we make the right decisions along the way.
Next, that our paperwork will go smoothly and hopefully without hiccups or confusion or delays... I know the REAL waiting hasn't really even started yet.
Next, for finances. As soon as our homestudy goes through, we will be applying for grants, loans, etc., and this is a VERY big leap of faith. preference is given to older children and special needs children (and rightfully so). As it is neither in our case, it is even less likey for this to be an possible opportunity. Not impossible, but without significant aid, we will not have the funds to cover the remainder of the cost.

So, here are my thoughts. I would like to end this blog with a REALLY encouraging affirmation I had from the Lord. About 2 weeks ago, I was really emotionally struggling, and feel asleep praying to God that He would affirm what we are doing, that He has this plan in mind. I had my Bible next to me as I feel asleep. When I woke up, it was like I woke up praying, my first thought and prayer was "Lord guide me, answer me, is this ever going to happen?" I opened my Bible randomly, without even thinking of flipping anywhere. The first verse I read said "I will bring your treasures home to you from Ethiopia"....... Yes, this is no joke and I had NO IDEA what I was opening my Bible up to or that this verse even existed. Well, if I ever doubted God's plan, I sure don't now. God is good, isn't He? :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

homestudy #1 visit... :)

We had our first homestudy visit from our social worker!! It is so exciting to f-i-n-a-l-l-y say this! It is a major milemarker for us. I rushed home to meet the social worker at 3:30 and the meeting lasted about 2 hrs. She asked us everything under the sun, including how we met, religious preference and how we will or will not include it in child rearing (we will!), discipline plan, day care plan (no day care is the plan), how John and I delegate tasks, guardianship, life insurance, health insurance for our child, multiracial family awareness, our knowledge of Ethiopian culture, how we will integrate that into the home, family support or lack thereof (our family is super supportive), how John and I resolve the list goes on, my brain is fried. It went really well, and there is a follow up visit on Feb 16th for final review. To make today even more interesting, I had my first observation in student teaching, which went well :) What a day!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We have the first visit from our social worker on Thursday at 3:30..... SOOO exciting and scary.... Really, I am overwhelmed with excitement.. AAAA!! Ok, so we are really in the midst of it now, between coursework, social worker visits, notarizing and certifying and authenticating every blessed paper in our house almost.

We are taking HAGUE accreditted coursework now, which is great as we are studying about attachment, and how to make significant connections to hardwire our baby's brain and increase sensory integration, which would inevitably be lacking in even the most loving orphanage. John really likes these classes as well, which I LOVE. We are taking a "because they waited" course and "adopting from African countries". I am really engcouraged and empowered by the accountability of the material covered in our classes. I am beginning to truly appreciate the fact that these courses are required. We will be SO much more prepared as parents, even as scary and big as the process is.

I had a great long conversation with our CHI consultant, who is a wonderful Christian woman, who has adopted 3 times herself. I love connecting with this world of people. They are so understanding, balanced, hold me accountable, give me details that can be hard to swallow, but I know I need to hear in order to be prepared. Thank God for CHI and His hands and feet there.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE where God is leading our MacKenzie family. As always, God is good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time to Blog!

Ok, so I haven't written in a while because frankly, I have been so frustrated with how long everything takes. However, as I am more reflective, I have more to say.
Good news is our paperwork is in for our home study and we are just waiting for the social worker to call us and set up the appt.
Our passports are in!!!!! Love that :)
fingerprints done
autobiographys done (phew)
financial reports, medical reports and other paperwork done (woot woot!)
and lots more to come truly....

We are about to register for a couple of courses we need to take for our dossier, which should be fun. We have access to our agencies internal site now, where we can view waiting children, adoptive family resources and all that stuff. We were reading about attachment issues our child could have and what to do when we first bring him or her home. I am crying as I write this because I can't express how much I love my child who I do not know yet. The site said how it might be a good idea to bring a mattress in the nursery and sleep there for a while to help our child adjust. It said they might just want to snuggle with us at first and that's ok. I LOVED reading about this, because it reminded me that this is real and it WILL happen and our child will love us and want to be around us. That encourages me so much. We're waiting for you baby!! :D

Um... what else? Well, we are excited that the wait time has gone down for referrals and hopefully we can have a referral by Christmas?? (Major praying and fingers crossed). There are two visits required now, so how it will work is approximately 3 months after our referral, we will travel to Ethiopia for a court date for consent to adopt and meet our child. Traditionally, we would go home (ACK!) and come back 6-8 weeks later to bring our child home. What we are trying to do is actually only go the first time and STAY THERE with our child. I am having lots of anxiety about leaving our child in an Ethiopian orphange and am pretty sure I would be a nervous WRECK if I had to leave him or her that long in that way. We will not know for quite for time (even after our referral) if that is a possibility. So that is a big prayer request.

-that the home study will go smoothly
-that we will be awarded grants to help financially
-that we can find some way to stay in Ethiopia rather than leaving and making two trips

It is in God's hands. We are to trust and obey His leading. So much of this process involves total faith. It is quite a journey. I am so thankful to God that He has chosen this for us and am so anxious to see what happens next.