Cookbooks for Christmas

cover.inddWhile you’re working on your Christmas shopping, consider getting a copy (or more!) of our adoption cookbook to give as a gift! There are so many yummy recipes like Chunky Guacamole, Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Fish Tacos, just to name a few. All the proceeds go to our adoption from Ethiopia.

The cookbooks are $20 a piece (plus shipping if needed.) But if you order more than one before December 15, additional copies are only $15 each. To order a cookbook, just fill out this form and I’ll get it to you! Adoption Cookbook Ordering Form

Thank you for helping us bring our brown-eyed kiddo home!

Getting Bad News

Friday, we got discouraging adoption news. Ethiopia is enacting the PAIR (pre-adoption immigration review). When we initially heard word of this a couple weeks ago, we were optimistic that it might mean only one travel trip instead of two (which would decrease costs and mean that we didn’t have to say goodbye to our child and return to the states with empty arms for 6-8 weeks while we waited for our child’s visa). But the news Friday wasn’t what we were hoping for. Rather, it was almost the opposite. Still two trips, and now costs might increase due to children having to spend longer at the transition home (Transition home is run by our adoption agency) and the wait time between referral and the court travel date increasing from 4-6 months to 8-10 months. (Note: The wait time between being DTE/dossier to Ethiopia and getting a referral is still 24-30 months at this time. Now, add 8-10 months for us to travel for our court date and another 4-6 weeks to go back a second time to bring our child home. The long and short of it is… more waiting. A lot more waiting.

I don’t know how much you know about me, but I’m not good at waiting. And apparently, this is a lesson God is insistent on teaching me because I keep running into it, especially when it comes to children. Two miscarriages before Lydia meant lots of waiting to hold a baby. A year of trying to get pregnant before Charlotte meant lots of waiting to get a positive pregnancy test. And when we first started our adoption journey our wait time was 12-18 months to get a referral… now it’s 24-30 months and could get longer. And then last Friday we found out that the waiting time between our being matched with a child (referral) and traveling to Ethiopia has been extended too. More waiting. More waiting. More waiting.

I’ve had a few days to process this news, and while I’m still discouraged I have to look back and remember what God has taught me through my wait for Lydia, Charlotte and now our Ethiopian child. I have to remember…

There is purpose in the wait. 

Our adoption hasn’t left God’s mind, even though sometimes I like to send him reminders. ;) His timing is perfect even when I don’t understand it. Right now, I don’t know why He would allow these kids to stay longer in a transition home when there are families aching to have them home. But I don’t have to understand Him to follow Him, to surrender to Him and to trust Him. That’s what makes Him God. I simply have to remember His faithfulness and cling to His Word. And I’m clinging with white knuckles and clenched fists to His Word. I’m claiming Isaiah 61 over Ethiopian adoptions and I’m praying for favor with Ethiopian authorities.It’s easy to get discouraged, to question whether you’re doing the right thing, to listen to the enemy. I’ve wrestled with all those this weekend, but I have to remember there is a purpose in the wait. If you’ve said yes to something seemingly impossible God has asked of you, don’t lose heart. Stay strong and know there is purpose in the wait. Even if we can’t see it right now.

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.8 “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

Cookbooks for Christmas

cover.indd

While you’re working on your Christmas shopping, consider getting a copy (or more!) of our adoption cookbook to give as a gift! There are so many yummy recipes like Chunky Guacamole, Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Fish Tacos, just to name a few. All the proceeds go to our adoption from Ethiopia.

The cookbooks are $20 a piece (plus shipping if needed.) But if you order more than one before December 15, additional copies are only $15 each. To order a cookbook, just fill out this form and I’ll get it to you! Adoption Cookbook Ordering Form

Thank you for helping us bring our brown-eyed kiddo home!

While We Wait

Right now, there are at least a dozen tabs open on my browser. Every week, we get more information from our adoption agency, AWAA. Some weeks it’s medical info (Apparently, Ethiopians can sometimes carry a gene that causes them to break down codeine into morphine much more quickly than others, so this is something we need to check with our pediatrician about.) Some weeks it’s language and culture info (the primary language in Addis Ababa is Amharic.) And a lot of the weeks it’s training in how to communicate with a child who has been institutionalized (meaning in an orphanage). All that info can be very, very overwhelming. But it’s all important, so Matt & I are trying to learn as much as we can as fast as we can. 

Recently, many people have asked how things are going. I usually answer, “We’re just waiting.” But that isn’t really a good answer. We aren’t just waiting at all. We are learning, praying, listening, reading. I’ve mentioned before how much this journey is stretching me, and that’s certainly never been more true. But I could never have imagined that through our miscarriages and infertility and now through adoption, that God would be crafting in me a ministry, a heart that cares deeply for other women in the same place. 

So, yes. We are waiting, but we are running while we wait. Running to learn. Running to understand better. Running to our knees. And with each step, we are one day closer. 

Waiting Game

Thank you to everyone who has asked about our adoption recently. I wish we had an update, but we are just in the waiting game. We get weekly updates from our adoption agency (America World) and they are telling us the current wait time for a healthy infant (0-2 years old) is about 24 months. So, that means we’re looking at fall/winter 2014 to get a referral.

We have several fundraising projects that we are beginning to work on…

I will soon be starting construction of the quilt that we will take over with us on our first trip to leave with our baby. Matt is working on a coffee fundraiser. And we’ve got a couple more ideas in mind too.

We wanted to be able to take a break from adoption fundraising while we celebrated C’s arrival, but even in our “break” God was still at work providing in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Our sweet friends Emily and Molly made and sold journals and raised $700 for our adoption. When I opened the card up, I was stunned and crying. A couple we knew from our old church in MS had raised money for an adoption they were hoping to do and when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to work out, they very generously sent us part of that money to use for our adption. People continue to send us checks for their t-shirts and I just smile every time. God continues to provide, and it’s been a thrilling ride to see how He works.

Please pray for people who are in the process of adopting from India. Indian adoptions are slowing way down, and this is affecting two friends of ours. It also raises fear in my heart of something similar happening in Ethiopia, but I know that I can’t control that. I have to trust God and His plan.

Thank you for loving us and encouraging us while we wait.

5th grade

When I became best friends with Em & Kimmie in 5th grade, I could never have imagined that twenty years later they would help me bring my baby home. I love these girls so much. They are my BFFs, and they have both had such a huge part in our adoption journey. Emily and her sister Molly have created beautiful journals that they are selling to raise funds for our adoption. Em sent me two and they are so beautiful. For more information, visit Em’s blog at http://www.ethanandemily.blogspot.com. 

Em, I love you to pieces and I’m so grateful for your encouragement and friendship the past twenty years. BFFs for life :) 

While we wait…

Our dossier is officially at its destination. Thank you, Jesus! And now we wait… Some people have asked me what it’s like during the waiting process. What emotions do I feel? What’s it like to wait for a baby I don’t carry in my tummy? A baby I don’t feel kick and never see an ultrasound?

I remember after the miscarriages feeling so lost because I thought, “How can I love someone so much, someone I’ve only known about for a month, someone I’ve never seen and never felt?” But our God is big and He knits together families as only He can. When God called us to adopt, He put this longing in our heart for a child that I would never carry in my tummy but would carry in my heart from that day forward. In the same way I dream about what Pumpkin will look like and whether Pumpkin is a boy or a girl, I think about the same things about EEOO. We have picked names for EEOO just like we have for Pumpkin. God works as only He can and He puts this desire on your heart than only He can fulfill with His perfect plan for your family. So, just like we have while we’ve waited for Lydia and now Pumpkin, we dream and pray and wonder and imagine what EEOO will be like and how God will use this precious child to change His world. 

 

FAQs

Several people have asked us some questions that I thought I’d put out here in case anyone else was wondering too…

-What is the time frame? Current estimates for Ethiopia are 18-24 months from your DTE date, so 18-24 months from right NOW! Spring-Fall 2014.

-Will we be getting a newborn? We have requested a child between 0-2 years, but because of the process it takes for an orphan to be processed and then because of travel arrangements, etc. our child will most likely be 9 months- 2 years old.

-Will our child be a boy or girl? We don’t know! We did not specify a gender. In Ethiopia, you can specify a gender, but we didn’t have a preference so we didn’t specify! Right now, girls and boys are pretty much equal in availability.

-Will we travel to Ethiopia to get our baby? Yes! We travel twice actually! The first trip, we will go over there to meet our child and petition the court to adopt this child. Then, we have to go through the heartbreaking time of leaving our child in Ethiopia and coming back to the states while we wait for visas to be processed. Once that is finished, we will travel again to Ethiopia to bring our child home! Our first trip will be 5-7 days and our second trip will be 3-5 days.

-Will L & Pumpkin go to Ethiopia? Because of their ages and jet lag and costs, they will not travel with us. Matt and I want this time to spend solely on this child. L & Pumpkin will be having a blast with grandparents in the states.

If you have other questions, I’d love to answer those as well! Just leave me a comment!

DTE official date! YAY!

We received word from our Family Coordinator today that our dossier looks good. Our police letters were notarized by someone whose notary expires Nov 2012, and AWAA recommends that all notaries not expire for at least one year. We don’t get to choose our notary with those police letters so that was sort of out of our hands. Our Family Coordinator says she has never seen an issue with this in Ethiopia so she is fine with sending our dossier ahead. 

So… our official DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) date will be next Friday, August 31st!!! This date begins our official wait which is currently estimated to be between 18-24 months (longest pregnancy ever, huh? :) So, now we wait and pray and wait and pray and wait and pray. 

Specific prayer requests…

-The health of our child (both physically and emotionally as our child will go through great loss)

-Our birth parents (their health both physically and spiritually)

-The workers at our child’s orphanage

-Lots of patience for Matt and me as we begin a long wait

-Funds, we have about 15K that we need to raise for travel, visas, court costs, etc. 

It is still hard to accept that our child will go through such intense loss in the first two years of his or her life, and even harder knowing that we won’t be there to hold him or her through those hard, hard days.We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Also, an update on the quilt… we have so many squares already on there and yesterday we received another generous donation from a couple at our church. The generosity of our friends and family has just blown us away. If you’d like to give, we would be so grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  

1.6 lbs

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That’s what our completed dossier weighs! And it is officially on its way to America World in VA and from there it will be sent to ETHIOPIA!!! YIPPEE!!

What happens next? First, our dossier will be checked by two AWAA staff members. Then, it will be taken to the Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. for additional authentication. And finally our dossier will be sent to Ethiopia within 1-3 weeks of arriving at AWAA. Our DTE date (dossier to Ethiopia) is the Friday of the week the dossier is mailed to Ethiopia. And on this same DTE date, we will receive an email from our Ethiopia Family Coordinator with the FedEx tracking number for our dossier’s journey to Ethiopia! 

Oh, and about the money… as we knew He would, God provided every last penny in amazing and miraculous ways. Now, we begin saving up and raising funds for the next leg of our journey, when we get our referral in 18-24 months (estimated length of time). 

I have cried many, many happy tears today. Every time I say DTE, I tear up. EEOO, you may not even be born yet, but you already have my heart. I love you so much. 

P.S. Our pic is a little fuzzy but I was so grateful to the man at FedEx for taking it! (And for giving L a FedEx frog stuffed animal :)