Thursday, December 9, 2010
As many of you know, our adoption has been put on hold. Why?? Because God has an amazing sense of humor! We found out in early September, 4 days before we were supposed to be DTE, that I was pregnant!
Obviously this was completely unexpected and unplanned. Not just now, but ever! We truly never expected or "tried" to have biological children. In fact, and this may sound strange to many of you, I have never really had a desire to be pregnant. Adoption has always been Plan A from the beginning. From the beginning of our relationship, Matt and I knew our family would be built through adoption.
In some way, part of me thought part of the reason God placed adoption so strongly in my heart because I was unable to concieve, and I was totally fine with that. Although we never "tried," we really didn't do much to prevent it from happening either. And honestly, after 10 years, we thought we were in the clear! Boy, were we wrong!!
Being so close to being DTE, my first reaction was not completely positive. It sounds silly now, but at the time, I felt like I was grieving the loss of our Ethiopian son. I have come to realize that I was really, very selfishly, grieving the loss of "my plan." Getting pregnant through a big wrench in what I thought the plan for our family should be! I am so grateful that God's plan far exceeds our own!!
We are still going to be adopting. We have no doubt that God laid our adoption on our hearts, though our little boy is not quite ready for us yet! Our agency's policy is that we withdraw from the process until the baby is 6 months old. We have been told we may be able to get an exception and continue earlier than that, but we will wait and see.
So far, the pregnancy is going well! I am at 22 weeks and not feeling too bad! We had our sonogram just a few days ago and our little Ethiopian boy is going to blessed with 3 sisters when he joins our family!! Yep, it's a girl! Matt is so excited about being even more outnumbered!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Hopefully it won't be another 3 months before I post again!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A psalm of David.
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
This was the psalm Matt & I read on Sunday morning before beginning our dinner/auction fundraiser. It was such an encouragement to be reminded of God's power. It energized us to face the day, no matter the outcome. Little did we know how much of his glory, power, strength and mightiness that we would witness in the coming hours!
God knocked our socks off!! We raised $6,486!! It was so absolutely amazing and it was humbling to be a part of it all. Our hope was to raise enough to send in our dossier. Not only did we raise enough for that, but we are now almost halfway to our next goal--the payment due when we accept our referral!!
So many people helped with the dinner and donated items. Thanks to all who contributed in any way. We love you all and appreciate you so much!! We could not have done it without you!
What happens now? Well, we officially sent our dossier to America World. We hoped to send it Monday, but we didn't get to the post office on time. So, we sent it on Tuesday. It is now in Dulles, VA and will be delivered to America World in the morning!! Unless we have overlooked something or a document in incorrect, we should (hopefully) be DTE(Dossier to Ethiopia) on September 10. Being DTE means we are officially on the waiting list for our precious little boy!
When we received our I-171h a few weeks ago, we struggled with not getting discouraged. Having our paperwork done, but not having the funds to send it was hard. But the Lord worked it all out in His time. He has provided above and beyond what we even imagined! We are now about 4-6 months away from seeing the face of our baby boy for the first time. What a day that will be!! I was a bawling mess on Sunday afternoon when we witnessed what God has provided--I know I'm going to be an even bigger mess on our referral day!!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
These are all items above and beyond what I mentioned in the last post! We have close to 35 different items and almost 50 total items for the auction!
I want to bid on so many things. . .but that would defeat the purpose of this fundraiser, wouldn't it!?!
Please come out and support us if you can! This Sunday, August 29th at Emmanuel Mennonite Church. We will begin serving lunch at noon(it is going to be tasty!) and the auction will start at 1:00 or soon after!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
We will be having a dinner/auction on Sunday, August 29th! All proceeds will go towards sending in our dossier!!
Here are the details:
Where: Emmanuel Mennonite Church(basement) in Meade, Kansas
When: Sunday, August 29th. We will serve lunch starting at noon. The auction will begin between 1:30-2:00 p.m.
Menu: BBQ chicken, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad, bread and dessert. Sounds yummy right??!!
Auction Items: blankets(Chiefs, KU, K-State, etc.), aprons, house plants, framed art & photography,lots of baked goods(cheesecakes, cookies,pies, pastries, etc.), gift baskets, babysitting services(Violet & Maggie) and HOPEFULLY many, many other things!!
***If you have ideas or items we could include in our auction, please contact us by comment, phone or email!
Please come! We would love to have a huge crowd! Great food and Great fun. . .what's better than that!??
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
There is still time to enter!! Go to our July 31st blog post or click on the link to find out all the details!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The Problem--we still don't have the amount we need to send our dossier to our agency.
Seeing our I-171h in the mail today was a little bittersweet. Yes, we were excited, but knowing we can't send in our dossier is just a little heartbreaking. It wasn't unexpected, though. We have had a feeling that our paperwork would be finished before our funding was in (I think the Lord was preparing us). We have been praying that we would have patience and wait on the Lord's timing. Boy, is that hard to do sometimes!
Also, there are families that have been waiting for their I-171h for much longer than us--and they have the funds to send in their dossier as soon as- they get it. I feel guilty for getting ours before theirs came. It seems a little silly for us to have ours when we really aren't quite ready for it. But, the Lord knows what He's doing, even when we just don't understand it!
I told Matt that as soon as the I-171h was in my hands, I would be going crazy and be a complete mess! Surprisingly, although I feel that little tug at my heart, I am actually doing OK. I'm sure that has something to do with the Lord providing us with so many wonderful people who are encouraged and prayed for us! I know that the Lord will provide-I KNOW He will! Our commitment to finishing our paperwork without going into debt has not, and will not change. We truly believe God is telling us to let Him provide at this point.
Does that mean we are going to sit and twiddle our thumbs-not at all. We are fundraising and will continue to do so. We are still selling our cookbooks and coffee. We have a big fundraiser planned and we will let you all know the details as soon as it is all worked out.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
We would love to add your name to one piece or several pieces. Here's how:
1. Buy a cookbook-1 puzzle piece for each cookbook sold (details are on the side of the blog)
2. Buy coffee-1 puzzle piece for each bag purchased (link is on the side of our blog, under the cookbook stuff)
3. Give any monetary donation-1 puzzle piece for every $10
We are working on a couple of fundraisers coming up in September. We're hoping those will bring in enough to send in our dossier!! Oh, what a day that will be!
Also. . .our BIG giveaway is happening this Saturday!! You only have a few more days to enter. Go to our July 31st blog post or this link to find out all the details!
Friday, August 6, 2010
As I stated before, we have connected with some amazing people and families and I wanted to share some of those with you. This blog lately has been all about OUR Fundraising efforts, etc. I want today to be about some others who are changing the world with their vision.
Samantha is an amazing 11 year old girl whose family is adopting four year old little boy from Ethiopia. After learning more about Ethiopia and the orphan crisis, she decided she had to help. She is making these beautiful bottle cap necklaces and donating 100% of the proceeds to provide shoes for children in Ethiopia because "I don't need things, and others do." Isn't that AMAZING! Please go to her blog and order 1,2 5, or 10 of these beautiful necklaces. They are only $6! Click on the picture or go to http://littlegoody2-shoes.blogspot.com/
The McKinney Family is an awesome family we have connected with through our agency's Yahoo Group. They are in the paperchasing phase just like us!! They have a great blog and have come up with a very creative fundraiser to help with their adoption costs. 5000 for 5 is an effort to get $5 donations from 5000 people/family, etc. Plus, when you donate, they will put a push pin on your location on a large map they have made to track where donations are coming from--I would love to see KANSAS or WISCONSIN completely full!! Go to http://lifeabitsweeter.blogspot.com/ or click on the picture to go to their blog, read all about them and donate!
The Druckenmiller Family are also in the same place where are, adoption wise. In fact, their fingerprinting appointment was right after ours! They live in Nebraska, which is also exciting for us, as there are not many adoptive families that we know here in Kansas. We are hoping to meet them some day! They are selling some super cute magnets for only $5. They are great to have on your fridge to remind you to pray for adoptive families and the orphans in Africa. Click on the picture or go to http://www.druckenmillerfamily.blogspot.com/ to order!
That's all for now! I want to make posts like this a regular part of this blog. I want all of you who are following our journey to be aware of and support others who are doing wonderful things! Please take time to go to each of these blogs and, if you can, donate. Your support, however big or small, will have an eternal impact.
Have a great weekend!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
My wonderful sister and mother make these amazing aprons. They make four sizes-adult, young girl (or boy), toddler, and doll size. Aren't they adorable?? (Doesn't my nephew look so excited to be a part of this photo?!)
A bag of coffee!!
- A Complete set of aprons (your choice of color/design) and 2 dozen cookies.
- 1 apron (your choice of color/design and size), a cookbook and 2 dozen cookies.
- A cookbook, a bag of coffee and 2 dozen cookies.
- 2 aprons (your choice of color/design and size), a bag of coffee and 2 dozen cookies
So. . .how do you enter, you ask?? Here's how:
- Become a follower of our blog (if you already are, that counts too! Just post a comment that you would like to be a part of the giveaway)-1 entry per day
- Post about our giveaway on your blog-1 entry per day (comment, message or email me to let me know)
- Add a link about the giveaway on facebook-1 entry per day (comment, message or email me to let me know)
- Buy a cookbook-2 entries for each book purchased!
- Buy coffee-1 entry per bag
AND THE BEST WAY TO ENTER:
- If anyone buys a cookbook and coffee and mentions your name, you will receive 3 Entries!!!
Enter as many times as you like! There will be 1 winner for every 50 entries!! Just be sure to let us know each time you post/link, etc. Also, be sure to have anyone who is purchasing cookbooks and coffee to mention your name.
We will end the giveaway on Friday, August 13th and the winner(s) will be announced on Saturday, August 14th!! (changed from previous dates!)
Good Luck to all of you and we hope you have fun!!!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
We are still busy fundraising. As you can see from our thermometer, we have been blessed greatly in the past month. We are barely a month into fundraising and have raised close to $2,500!! We are really praying that we'll get to the $7,700 mark BEFORE our I171h arrives. At this point, that is my biggest fear: having our paperwork completely finished and not being able to send it because we don't have the money raised.
Cookbook sales have been going well. We have been overwhelmed at the support from the people here in Meade, especially the at the hospital where Matt works. They have been absolutely amazing and have even "advertised" the cookbook in their weekly newsletter. We haven't had the sales we expected online, though, so we are working on a GREAT giveaway to get the word out on the web and hopefully more traffic on our blog.
We will post all the details tomorrow so be sure to come back and check it out!!
Monday, July 19, 2010
You can enter to win or buy a shirt!
We have been papercasing with this family for a while now, but just today they recieved their I171h and will be DTE soon!!!!! The I171h is the form we are currently waiting on now that our fingerprinting is done!
Friday, July 9, 2010
The back side-with names!!
A close up shot!
This shows a picture of what the puzzle will look like when completed
Looks good so far, doesn't it?? Only 842 pieces to go! If you are new to our blog or have forgotten how to "sponsor" pieces, there are three ways to do it.
1. Buy a cookbook-1 puzzle piece for each cookbook sold (details are on the side of the blog)
2. Buy coffee-1 puzzle piece for each bag purchased (link is on the side of our blog, under the cookbook stuff)
3. Give any monetary donation-1 puzzle piece for every $10
Can you help us finish it?? As you can see, we are making great progress but have a long way to go. Anything you can do to help is so much appreciated!
Thank you all for your prayers and support during this journey! Things have been pretty smooth so far, but emotionally we have had our ups and downs. We know that God has called us to this and we are so excited, but there are times when it becomes overwhelming, especially when thinking about the financial aspect of it all. Yesterday was one of those days for me, and this morning God blessed our socks off with an amazing donation in the mail from a wonderful, wonderful lady! It's days like these that we feel your prayers and know that God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
If you have considered getting one for yourself or as a gift, don't hesitate--they really are great! As a little "testimonial," one of Matt's co-workers made a recipe from the book the other night and her husband, who never takes leftovers for his lunch, liked it so much he took the leftovers to work the next day!
Remember, for each cookbook you purchase or bag of coffee you buy, you will "sponsor" a puzzle piece. I am hoping to update on the progress of the puzzle soon so that you can see the progress we have already made!
These are some verses I read during my quiet time this morning:
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say "You are my God. My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
This fundraising thing can be scary at times. I have had to remind myself too many times to trust. It is such a hard thing when those big numbers are looming in front of us. We know this is God's plan for us and we know it will happen in his time.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Also, we are picking our cookbooks up from the printers today! It looks awesome! Please purchase one if you can. If you know people who enjoy cooking or baking, send them to our blog to buy a book. It really does have some awesome recipes!
We are getting so close to being done with our paperwork! The only downside of that is the fact that we have to have $7,700 to send in with our Dossier. Having already paid over $6,000, our savings is about as low as we are comfortable with. We have prayed about it and we really feel that God will provide through fundraising and donations. It's scary to think that we may have to wait a little while to send in our dossier, but we also know that God's timing is perfect. Although we may have to break down and get a loan for the final cost of the adoption, we feel strongly that we are not going to get a loan just to send our paperwork in faster.
We have placed a "fundraising thermometer" on our blog so that you can track our progress. The money we make tomorrow, all coffee sales and the sales of our cookbook will go toward that ominous $7,700 that we need! Wouldn't it be amazing if God provided the entire amount before our paperwork is completed!? Please pray and ask the Lord if He wants you to be a part of our journey. We are so grateful for your prayers and support.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
As soon as the home study was in our hands we finished our I600a form and got all the necessary documents together to send to USCIS. Sending it out this morning was such an awesome feeling!
So, now what? Well, we wait for USCIS to contact us about fingerprinting. Hopefully that will happen soon. From what I understand, we should be getting a call or a card in the mail with an appointment time. After the fingerprinting, we wait for the I-171h form that indicates the INS has approved our petition to adopt. We really have no time frame as to how long this could take. It all depends on the state, really, and we don't know how long it has taken other families in here in Kansas. So, we'll wait. . .as patiently as possible!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Our cookbooks are officially at the printers! It has been a long couple of weeks, with many late nights of typing, proofreading, editing, and picture taking! We are so excited about it! The name of our book is "A Taste of Love" and will feature the Ethiopian flag with an outline of the country on the Cover.
Here's a little preview:
Bacon Wrapped Smokies
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
A while ago I shared a few "inspirational" adoption videos. One of those videos was of little Lucy Lane. Well, as of yesterday, it has been one year since her "gotcha day". This video chronicles all that has happened in the year that Lucy Lane has come home. What an amazing family and what an amazing little girl. It is absolutely incredible how God has used her adoption story!
Isn't that awesome?! I couldn't stop the tears and they are still flowing. Through this process, we have prayed that God would use our story to advance the cause of the orphan and adoption. That is one of the reasons we started this blog. Not just to keep family and friends informed, but to raise awareness of the need out there. Adoption is not just our heart, but it is God's heart.
I don't think a video like this can be watched with out feeling a tug at your heart. What is God whispering to you? Is it to adopt? To give monetarily to adoptive families? To pray? Whatever God is laying on your heart, listen to it and obey!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Now we are in full adoption & fundraising mode. Our goal is to be DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) before the middle or end of July. Well, before school starts at least!!
Our home study visit went really well. I meant to blog about it before we left, but time got away from me. Our social worker had a copy of our almost finished home study with her and she assured us the 1st draft would be ready when we came back from vacation. We weren't disappointed!! It was in our inbox for our review when we got home! We reviewed it, made a couple potential changes and emailed it back to the agency. Now, when our changes have been approved, it will be emailed to AWAA, our international agency, for review. They will make sure everything is in there that needs to be for the Ethiopian government. When Nicole, our family coordinator gives the OK, our home study will be officially finished!! Hopefully this will all happen by the end of next week. Once we have our home study, we can send in our I600A--the all important immigration form!
We are also gearing up for tons of fundraising this summer. In order to be DTE, we have to send in a check for $7700 with all of our paperwork. This includes our 2nd program fee, part of our international program fee, courier services and post placement agreements. We also will have to send $830 with our I600A. Which means that we need to have $8530 in the next 6-8 weeks in order to move forward!! We can do it right!!??
I am still working on the cookbook and hope to have it to the printers in the next week or two. We are also going to be doing a food booth for Dalton Days on Saturday, June 26th!! Anyone near the Meade area, please come out and get some yummy burritos, nachos and cookies!! Our coffee fundraiser is still going also. If you want to order some amazing coffee, click the link on the left side of our blog. Trust me, it is amazingly good!! We have some other fundraising ideas brewing in our brains too! It's going to be absolutely amazing to see God work all this out in the next few weeks! I'm hoping to have some sort of graphic in the next few days on the blog so that you all can track our progress.
As we were driving through L.A. before we boarded the ship, we saw this sign!
Fun, eh!?? We wish we would have had some time to scope out this little neighborhood.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thank you all for your prayers. We have felt them this week. For all that we had on our plate, it really has gone quite smooth. I expected this week to be absolute chaos, and it hasn't been--yeah!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The next 10 days are going to be absolutely crazy! Please pray for us as we have so many things to accomplish. This Thursday evening we are headed to Kansas City to attend an international adoption seminar on Friday. This is a requirement for our home study agency. School is coming to a close and getting my classroom ready for summer can be quite a task. Usually I take a week or so after school is out to get it done, but we are leaving for vacation next Friday (the day after school gets out). So, my goal is to have it done in record time this year. Thankfully, my amazing husband has offered to help! He's so great! We also need to pack, keep the house Home Study inspection worthy, attend graduation parties and ceremonies, etc.! It's going to be quite a week and a half!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
- 3 children came home!!
- 7 families are on their way to Ethiopia to bring their children home!!
- 12 families were given a court date!!
- 7 families received a referral!!
- 4 more families are DTE (or will be very very soon)!!
That is with just AWAA alone! It is so amazing to see what God is doing in the adoption world!
It has been such an encouragement to me, since my emotions have been a roller coaster ride the last few days. Since sending off our home study paperwork on Wednesday, I had been feeling somewhat discouragement. I really don't know why, but I guess the process started getting to me. We are so early in the journey and it seems so long already. I have never been very good with paperwork anyway, so I knew this part of the process would probably get to me.
On top of that discouragement, feelings of fear have been attacking me. What if I can't parent an infant? What if our son won't bond with us? What if we really can't afford it? What if, What if, What if. . . .? I know it sounds silly, but these are the things that go through my head.
But then the joyous news started coming in, and it didn't seem to stop. With each new referral or news of a court date being set, I got more and more excited. Then I read a blog yesterday that put me over the top. If you have a chance, go to this blog, please do it. Her name is Amy and her blog, Filled With Praise, is also listed under our blog list. A few weeks ago, on April 21st, she wrote a letter to her son on her blog. People had been approaching her and saying her son was on their heart. It happened five times, with different people, so she and her husband decided to document it for future reference-April 21st. On Thursday, they received their referral call: A 4 month old baby boy who was brought to their agency's care facility on, wouldn't you know it, April 21st! Wow! I get chills just thinking about it. Isn't God amazing? This is just one example of how God's hand is in every part of the journey. A family isn't matched with a child just because they are next in line. God orchestrates it all! Every delay in paperwork, government hang-up, court closure and anything else that seems so frustrating is all part of the journey to the child God has for us.
What will our journey be? Will we feel a tug in our hearts when our son is born? Will people we love be praying for him the moment he is taken from the arms of his birth mother and placed in the orphanage? Will he feel God's loving arms around him when is is all alone? I have no doubt He will do all of that and so much more! Matt found a verse in his quiet time yesterday that spoke to this very thing. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I love that! No mind has imagined what God has prepared! That truly makes every frustration and every fear wash away in the light of knowing that this is what God has planned for us. May we glorify Him in it all.
Thank you, again, to all those praying for us. We feel your prayers and we know we could not take this journey without them.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3: 20-21
Thursday, May 6, 2010
All this wonderful news isexciting! All this movement makes me antsy to get all this paperwork done so that we can be part of all the fun! All in God's perfect timing, right?
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
We are busy, busy, busy with paperwork! To give you an idea of what is required for our home study, here is a list of the documents we have to complete or collect:
- Copy of of Birth Certificates-all four of us
- Copy of Marriage Certificate
- Copy of Income Tax Return
- Copy of W-2 Forms
- Copy of Medical Insurance Verification
- Family Photo and Photos of Home
- Home Study Application (14 pages including a complete financial report)
- Autobiographies (6-9 pages of information about ourselves--not easy!)
- Criminal Record--including fingerprints
- Child Abuse Check
- Employment Verification letters
- 6 Reference Forms
- School Record Forms-one for each girl
- Health forms for all 4 of us
- Copy of Identifying documentation
- Authorization Form
- Fee Agreement
- Copy of Previous Home Study (pray that we find it!)
This is not even an exhaustive list! Wild, isn't it? Amazingly, we are 4 days in and have almost all of this complete! Isn't God good?!
Earlier today I came across this website:
This is an amazing organization whose story will bring you to tears. They rescue tribal children in Africa who are facing culturally mandated infanticide. We encourage you to help this organization in any way that you can.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
We are also busy working on another fundraiser project. In praying about what to do to raise money for our adoption, we wanted to do something unique to us. Something useful. We had been stewing over ideas for months and then it suddenly came to me--What do I like to do more than anything? People who know me well could probably answer this question quite easily. BAKE! I love to bake cookies, cheesecakes, muffins, truffles and just about anything else. So, naturally, it would make sense to put together a cookbook! It will be a collection of recipes I have collected through out the years. Each recipe will be one that I have used and enjoyed! We will also be including tidbits of information about the orphan crisis and general facts about Ethiopia. So far, people have been positive about it, but I would love feedback. Do you think this would be a good fundraiser idea?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Rob Webb knows coffee. When Rob was two years old, his father started Webb's Coffee Service, which blossomed into a full-blown refreshment service supplying businesses in Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas, and is now run by Rob.
Rob Webb knows the adoption process. In the summer of 2008, Rob and his wife Emily were called to adopt from Ethiopia. After much prayer and discussion with their first two children they started their adoption journey in August 2008. During the flurry of paperwork and preparation, Rob & Emily read books not only on adoption in general, but specifically on Ethiopia. Learning that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee caught Rob's attention, and after reading about the living conditions and wages of the average coffee farmer, he was compelled to take action. What developed through his reading and his trip to Ethiopia to unite with his daughters was a realization that he could combine his expertise and longstanding desire to roast his own coffees with his desire to help others. Just Love Coffee Roasters was born! Roasting Fair Trade Specialty coffees, Just Love uses proceeds to help an Ethiopian orphanage and families adopting not just from Ethiopia, but from anywhere in the world.
This is such a great fundraiser for us because it costs us nothing! All we had to do was sign up and we recieve $5 from each bag of coffee sold through our website. You can click on the icon to the side or go to http://www.justlovecoffee.com/Bobofamily to check out all of their wonderful coffees. They have light, dark, medium roast as well as decaf and expresso. We have ordered some and I can't wait to try it. I have heard it is absolutely wonderful!. Our goal is to sell 200 bags. If you love coffee, we would love to have your support. If you know someone who loves coffee, let them know about it.
Also, congrats to 6 families from our agency that recieved word yesterday that they will be traveling to pick up their children next week!!! Woohoo!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
We have dedicated ourselves to full transperency during this process and this includes the cost of our adoption. For this reason, we would like to share with you the estimated costs we are anticipating in the next year or so. Most of these numbers are estimates and may change, but it will give you a general idea of the cost.
Right now we are in the paperchase stage of the process. The fees needed during this phase are:
AWAA Application fee $250
1st Installment of Program Fee $1500
Home Study $1640 + $900 for 3 post placement visits
Hague Training $175
Documents/Background Checks/Passports $100-$500
USCIS Fee & Update Fee + Fingerprinting $830
Notarization, Certification, and Authentication of Dossier documents $400
When our dossier is ready to send (hopefully by the end of July) we will need to send it along with the following:
Dossier Courier Service $150
2nd Installment of Program Fee $2000
Post-Adoption Report Deposit $1000 (fully refundable if all post-adoption reports are returned on time)
Dossier Service and Translation $800
Half international Program Fee $3750
When we recieve our referral, which should be 4-6 months after completing our dossier, we will need to have the following:
International Specialist Consultation $100-$400
3rd Installment of Program Fee $1500
1/2 International Program Fee $3750
After recieving our referral, our court date determines when we will travel. Since the two trip policy is brand new, we really do not know exactly how much more taking two seperate trips will cost. No one with our agency has been assigned a court date after May 9th, which is when attendence at court is required. Matt & I will travel alone the first time and then we will bring the girls with us on the second trip. The following numbers for travel costs are our own estimates:
Airfare (both trips) $6000-$10000
Visa/Embassy Fee (1 child) $400
In-Country Travel Package $2800-$4000
Post Placement visits--these will already be paid to the Home Study agency
Post Adoption Administrative Fee $385
Re-Adoption (this is so the child will have a US birth certificate) $300-$1000
Other Costs (doctor visit, related co-pays, social security card, passport cost, postage, phone calls, etc.) $100-$1000
Which brings the Grand Total anywhere from $28,910 to $36,230. Yikes, right! Our agency's current estimate is a little less than this, but does not include estimates for two trips or taking our girls with us. We know taking Maggie & Violet will add to our expense, but the benefit of them going far outweighes the cost!
So, how are we going to do it, you ask?? By Faith. God has called us to this. By Faith, we will obey. We have already seen God work and cannot wait to see what He has planned!
No, we do not have $30,000 just lying around. That would be awesome, wouldn't it? No, we do not expect $30,000 to just appear out of nowhere, although God can do that if he so chooses! Yes, we do have a plan, but it is not set in stone, either. We do have some savings already set aside for the adoption. Using our past two tax returns we have been able to pay some things off, including our van and a student loan! This has freed up some extra money that we will be putting aside each month specifically for adoption cost and then later for baby costs.
We will also be doing some fundraising. We realize that not everyone may be comfortable with this idea. We completely understand and ask that no matter how you feel, just keep praying for us. We covet your prayers more than any money you could give. We have several fundraising ideas spinning in our heads. We'll save all that for another post.
If it comes down to it, we will get an adoption loan (sorry, Dave Ramsey) to pay the rest of our expenses. There is a great Christian credit union that gives adoption loans for a great rate. We would love to be able to not have to do this, but it is comforting to know that we have the option.
Well, this post has become a long one! Have a great week!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I thought it would be fun to share some family adoption videos with you. These are three families that have adopted from Ethiopia. They have inspired and encouraged us as we have begun the journey. Make sure you have a kleenex handy--Trust me, you'll need it!
If you are having trouble seeing the entire screen, double click and it will go straight to youtube. I tried to make them smaller and couldn't!
This first video is a family that adopted from the same agency that we are with-America World. Many of the places in the video will be places we will be going in Ethiopia!
This little guy is just about the cutest I've ever seen!
Lucy Lane-One of the first videos we found. She is so precious!
Doesn't that make you want to run to Ethiopia and bring home a bunch of those precious little ones?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
By the way, we did let Violet know that there are actual buildings and bathrooms in Ethiopia. We did assure her that if it came down it, we could bring our own TP!
Monday, April 5, 2010
In the week or so since we have started our "paper pregnancy" we have gotten several things accomplished. We have gotten new copies of our birth and marriage certificates, had our physical exams, gotten Matt's employment verification, contacted our home study agency and began our Hague training. Not bad for a week, right!? I have a feeling keeping all this paperwork organized is going to be a bit of a chore, but we bought a little filing box and are setting up a specific area to keep all of this stuff.
Thanks again to all of you who are praying for us. Keep it up! Right now, our main prayer request is getting our home study begun and completed as quickly as possible. We are trying to work out a way for someone local to conduct the home study, since our agency is out of Kansas City and paying mileage would cost an outrageous amount. We need a completed home study to send in with I-600A (immigration form stuff), so the sooner that can be accomplished the better!
Ok, on to the FAQ's
Do you know him already? and along with that. . .How do you know he is a boy?
No. In fact, depending on the length of our process, he may not have even been conceived yet! We will not be put on the list to receive a referral until our paperwork is completed and sent to Ethiopia. We know he is a boy because we are requesting a boy. We would really be happy with either gender, but the wait for a boy is significantly shorter. We could put in for either gender, and would most likely get a boy anyway. Knowing that we are getting a boy will be beneficial in getting his room ready and preparing for him. During our long wait, it will be nice to have nursery preparations and such to keep me busy! Besides, Matt thinks it's time that he's not the lone male in the house! =)
Why does it take so long?
It just does. In a process like this, it can be easy to get frustrated by how long it takes. The waiting is not going to be easy at all! It can be hard to understand why, if there are willing parents and 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia, it has to take as long as it does. But really, as you go through the process, it makes sense. We are, after all, dealing with two different governments in the process. Here is a breakdown of the process and the length it takes:
- Application & Paperchase-4 to 6 months. This is the stage we are in right now. This involves collecting all the documentation we will need for our Dossier. The Dossier the collection of every document and form that we have and will be collecting, including our home study and approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Getting all this together takes time, especially the home study and immigration papers. Not only do all these documents need to be collected, but most of them have to be notarized and then certified by the Secretary of State. Once our Dossier is complete, it is sent to Ethiopia and we are officially DTE and on the waiting list. DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia.
- Dossier Submission and Waiting-4 to 6 months. Once our Dossier arrives in Ethiopia, it needs to be translated--all 30+ documents!! It is then processed and we wait for our referral call! As of last week, the current wait time is 4 to 6 months, but that could change. The wait for a girl is around 8 to 11 months! When we receive our referral, we will be sent a picture of our son, his medical history and a short profile of him. We then will need to send in a referral acceptance form stating that we do, in fact, want him! I can't imagine not accepting any referral, but I am sure there are instances where this may occur. I firmly believe that the Lord already knows who are son will be and that the boy referred to us will be the child God want us to have!
- Court & Travel- 3 to 6 months (we think). As of last week, we officially will have to make two trips to Ethiopia. This is new and won't start until have May 9th, so this may change. What we have been told is that we need to be prepared to travel to Ethiopia approximately 4 - 8 weeks after receiving a referral in order to be present in Ethiopia for our appointed court date. Families will remain in Ethiopia for roughly 4 -7 days and will then return to the US. Up until now, parents have not been required to be present for court. We are hoping that being there will give us a better chance of passing court the first time. The chance of passing court the first time is currently 50%. There are some families that have had to wait until the 8th court date to pass. We are praying it will not be that way for us. Passing court means you are legally the parents of your child. Woohoo! After officially passing court, we will then travel back to Ethiopia approximately 6 -12 weeks later to pick up our son. The hardest part of this process will be leaving Ethiopia the first time without our child. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that will be! But, we will get through it and it will be worth it all in the end.
Well, that's it in a nutshell! Sounds simple right? This is really just a rough breakdown of this process. Anything can happen to delay or slow it down. We have been told repeatedly to be prepared for anything and everything. We would love to have him home a year from now, but we will be patient and wait for the Lord's timing. His timing is always better than our own!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I thought I would dedicate the next few post to the questions we have been asked the most in the last few days. We hope this will give a clearer picture of our thinking, the process and what to expect. The top questions we have been asked are: Why Ethiopia?, Do you know him already?, Why does it take so long?, How do the girls feel about it all?,(and one that we haven't really been asked yet, but want to answer anyway) How much will it cost? If there are any other questions that you have, please don't hesitate to ask. We would love to share any information we can with you.
So, here goes. . .
The short answer is that we strongly feel God's call to adopt from Ethiopia. I won't stop there though. Hopefully I won't drag on too long!
We always knew we wanted to adopt again, we were just waiting for the right time. In the last few years, every few months we would get "the fever." We would pray about and discuss the options. At one point, we prayed about going back into foster care. There were even a few times when we were contacted by various people about a possible adoption, but each time didn't seem like the right time or roadblocks were thrown our way. We really never looked closely at international adoption until about a year and a half ago. I guess we always thought it was too expensive to consider. One day, I happened upon a website that mentioned that Ethiopia had recently opened to international adoption. I immediately felt the "tug" and mentioned it to Matt. He felt the same. We still felt God telling us to wait.
Then came January of this year. January 3rd sitting in church the Lord was speaking to us.Both Matt and I looked at each other and basically said "It's time" It was uncanny! We immediately began looking at various agencies and all possible countries. After looking at as much information as possible, the choice was clear. There were several factors that contributed to our decision:
- Age--We really would like an infant this time around and children 1 month-15 years are available in Ethiopia.
- Cost--Even thought it is pricey, Ethiopia is on on the lower end compared to other countries we considered.
- Wait Time--Although 12-24 months sounds longs, it is nothing compared to some other countries (the wait time for China is about 4 years!)
- Travel Time--Many countries require at least one parent to be in country for up to 3 months and make 2 or 3 trips before taking your adopted child home. Ethiopia, as of right now, only requires one weeklong trip to pick up your child. There is a chance that we will have to make two trips, but even then, each trip will only be about 7 days.
Those factors alone made the decsion quite easy and as time has progressed, we have learned so many things about this country.
- Ethiopia is home to roughly 4.6 to 5 million orphans, or 12% of all children. That is the same number of children under age 18 who reside in Massachusetts, New York State, and Washington DC combined. If every parent in those places died tonight - that would be similar to Ethiopia's orphan crisis.
- One out of ten die before reaching their first birthday
- Life expectancy in Ethiopia 39 years for males and 42 years for females. The leading cause of death is communicable diseases such as malaria, typhoid, meningitis, cholera, AIDS, tuberculosis, yellow fever.
- Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
- Half of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school
- Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) declined 40-60%from 1998-2002
These statistics are staggering. We feel that God directed us to this country. In a short time we have developed an indescribable love for Ethiopia and all 4.6 million orphans in it. It warms my heart to know that soon, the Bobo's can help by making that number 4,599,999! That's only if we can handle coming home with just one!
Sorry this post was so long! Next time I'll tackle the questions Do you know him already? and Why does it take so long?
Saturday, March 27, 2010
We never thought we would be the blogging type, but we thought this would be a great way to keep family and friends updated on our progress in the coming months. Also, we have been so encouraged by and inspired by all the adoption blogs we have been reading. There so many amazing families out there and their stories have given us hope and perspective on what this journey will truly entail. Our prayer is that our adoption and this blog will encourage and inspire other families considering adoption. Each journey is different, and there are always roadblocks, but in the end the reward is so worth it! The difficulties we will experience will pale in comparison to seeing our son for the first time, meeting him & holding him.
Our girls are thrilled with the idea of having a baby brother! I think they have been hoping for this for a while. Please pray for us--we are definitely going to need it!