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


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 :)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered… (well, signed and sealed… almost there!)

Yesterday, I took our two forms that have to be county certified down to the Shelby County Records building and got those sealed (thank you, Matt May J.D. for all the help!) and then we sent them via FedEx to Nashville last night. They’re set to arrive in Nashville tomorrow and hopefully they will return to us by the end of the week or the beginning of next week. God has already provided in a BIG way this weekend, so now our total still needed to submit our dossier is only $960!!! Yippee!!! Thank you all for your prayers and gifts. 

I was talking to Matt’s step-mom this weekend and we were both saying what a humbling experience this is… to watch God work in your midst like this is truly a lesson in faith and an experience in miracles. Even on the hard days (and there have certainly been some of those! :) I am so grateful God chose to take us on this journey. 

As we prepare for Pumpkin’s birth, I’ve been working on some ideas for ways to incorporate EEOO into our newborn photo session. I hope they turn out in real life like they look in my head :) Our hearts are permanently woven with this country. I find myself wanting to learn everything I can about this culture, and I look forward to family trips there as our kids grow up. 

I’m also so excited about the quilt project, especially the idea of having something tangible that we can leave with EEOO when we go for our first trip. After I make it this fall, Matt and I are going to keep it on our bed so that it can pick up our scent. A lot of my adoption books say that it can be very disconcerting for internationally adopted babies when they arrive home because different parts of the world have a different scent. I’m hoping this will help our baby make the transition. We’d love for you to be a part of this project, even if it’s just a dollar. Trust me when I say that every dollar matters.


We came home from date night, and I stopped to check the mail. My heart skipped about three beats when I saw an envelope from the Department of Homeland Security. But I told Matt, “Surely it can’t be. We only did our fingerprints three days ago.” We opened the letter and I’m reading… reading… reading… trying to figure out if this is the form we’ve been waiting on… the last form we need to submit our dossier. I expected it to have I-171H really big at the top, but it didn’t so I thought, “This can’t be it. It couldn’t have gone that fast.” But then at the very bottom in what must be size 7 font… I-171H! This is it! This is the form and instead of it taking 6-12 weeks to get it took us FOUR WEEKS! Thank you for all your prayers, and thank you to our Lord for providing in such a BIG way!!! 

So, what now… I have to take our Power of Attorney form (the form that Matt and I sign saying we grant AWAA power of attorney privileges to act on our behalf in Ethiopia) and our Dossier Cover Sheet (which outlines ALL the pages in our dossier) to Shelby County Circuit Court to get certified (to make sure our notary is actually registered… she is! Don’t worry :) And then, we will overnight FedEx it to the Secretary of State of TN where it will be certified there and then we send it to AWAA and they send it to ETHIOPIA!!!! EEEEEEEK!!! We are getting SO close to being DTE (dossier to Ethiopia)!

Now, after we are DTE we will be waiting for a while (18-24 months is the current wait time) but when you are in the paper-chasing process it feels like you will. never. be. DTE so this is a HUGE HUGE HUGE step forward. And after we are DTE, we will be given our number and we will start moving up the list until we get to the top and they send us a referral for our child! (You think I’m exclamation point happy tonight… just wait until that day!) 

But the nitty gritty… we still need $1500 to submit our dossier. Our total due at dossier submission is $7700 and we have $6200 is our adoption fund right now! (That all important I-171H form costs $890… ouch, huh?!) We have already paid over $5000 towards our adoption, so God has already provided over $11,200 to date for our adoption and that’s since February. That is AMAZING!!!! I know this $1500 is nothing for Him! He didn’t bring that form to us in record time to leave us now. I know He will provide! If you can help us and make a donation, just click here or click on the button to the right. 

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! It feels like Christmas in my heart tonight! :) 

Threads of Hope

I’m really excited to tell you about a brand new project I’m working on to raise funds for the adoption. I have a deep love for quilts, particularly ones with a story. On L’s new big girl bed, she has the most beautiful quilt my Papaw’s mom made. My Mamaw gave it to me last year at Thanksgiving and I knew I wanted it to go on L’s bed. I’ve wanted to try making my own quilt, and I had the thought to make one for EEOO. I’d love to take it over there when we go on our first trip and leave it with our baby when we have to come home while we wait to get our child’s visa. I know it’s going to break my heart to meet my baby and then have to come home without him or her, but this way our child will have something to hold every night made with love. 

And this is where you come in… I fully subscribe to the belief that “it takes a village” especially when it comes to adopting. So many people have prayed for us, bought t-shirts, donated stuff for garage sales and encouraged us on hard days. I want this quilt to capture the love of not just Matt and me, but also all our friends and family who are walking this journey with us. 

So, here’s the deal. For every donation we receive from now through October, I will add a square to the quilt in your honor. If you’d like to give us a special piece of fabric, I will certainly use it, but if not, then I’ll choose a pretty one and add it to the quilt. The donation amount does not matter, $5, $10, $100… we are incredibly grateful for every penny. I hope to finish the quilt in November. (How good a sleeper Pumpkin is will determine that date :) Please help us spread the word about this project. Anyone can donate. There is a button on our blog that will take you to a secure site for donations and all money goes directly to our adoption fund.

And I will also make a list of email addresses with everyone who donates and send you a picture after we return from our first trip to Ethiopia so you can see how you helped an orphan find his or her forever home.  

Thank you so much! 

Prayer Request

We would greatly appreciate your prayers that God would expedite our fingerprints’ journey through the Memphis office of the USCIS. We have our fingerprint appointment in the morning and it looks like it can take 8-12 weeks after that appointment to receive our I-171H back. This is the last form we need to submit our dossier. I would very much like to submit our dossier before I go to the hospital to have this baby which is just 8.5 weeks away! 

If we don’t get to submit before then, I trust God’s timing and know it is perfect. But I know it would give my heart rest to know that our dossier was one its way. Thank you for praying with us.