Saturday, July 31, 2010


Yes, it is true. After things flying through at record speed early on and then all the waiting and roadblocks here lately we are officially leaving ONE week from today. Brent talked to the superviser with USCIS in charge of our case on Wednesday and she was emailing our document to the National Visa Center right then. We confirmed that they did have it on Thursday. Although we still don't have the hard copy we know it will be here any day now.

I booked our travel yesterday and paid off the rest of what we owed our agency...ouch is all I can say :-) Airfare to Addis Ababa is NOT cheap! We are flying the best airline in the world, according to the travel agent, so we should be very comfortable. And, we get a night in a really nice hotel in Dubai included in our airfare on the way over. That will give us a good nights sleep before we arrive into Ethiopia.

We are planning to meet our kids birth mom the day we fly in and then pick up our kids the next morning. So...that means that one week from Tuesday we will have them! I can hardly believe the day is finally here. It is so surreal! Two weeks from today we will be home and start life as a family of 7.
We appreciate all your prayers and support. Please pray that we will all have peace and that the transition will go smoothly. We will be missing the first couple of days of school and both mama and kids are having a hard time with that. Grandma and Great Aunt will be here to get kids to school on first day and I know that they will do a fabulous job!
Flight info: We will be arriving into Nashville next Saturday, Aug. 14th, at 5:11pm on Delta Flight #6399. We would love for everyone to meet us and celebrate! (BTW...that day (the 14th is also Brent's birthday...shhh, don't tell him I told you!)
Hope you all have a great weekend...

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have had many of you calling, emailing, facebooking etc. wanting an update so here goes...

For those of you who do not know the process of adoption in Ethiopia I am going to start by briefly explaining (if you already know you can skip this paragraph:-). Once you are matched with a child (or children in our case :-) you go before the Ethiopian court and the court finalizes the adoption on the Ethiopian side. You then set an appointment with the US embassy for them to "approve" everything. That is the last step before you bring them home. In order to set the embassy appointment you have to have a document from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services department called an I-171. This form is a result of the USCIS investigating you and determining that you are indeed "fit" to be parents and do not have any "skeletons in the closet". Most families adopting have all this paperwork done before they even accept a referral. In our case, because things went so fast, we did not have it done before our referral. Since our kids were "paper ready" and we had our dossier done we were able to go forward with our court date and we passed the first time on June 4th. We originally had an embassy appointment set for July 15, but were unable to keep it since we were still waiting on the I-171. Each agency has an embassy day and our agency's day is every other Thursday so each time we miss an embassy appointment we have to wait 2 more weeks for the next one. Currently the next day we are scheduled for is August 12th.

We had emailed the lady over our case back in June to see if she knew how long it would take to receive our paperwork. She emailed us back and said she had our file on her desk with a huge stack on top and she didn't give us any clue about a timeline. Brent decided last Wednesday to pull that email back up and realized that she had included her phone number, sooooo...he called her! She said that she remembered corresponding with us and that she had forgotten about us and that we were still at the bottom of the tall stack on her desk. She said she would read our file that night and if everything checked out our approval would be sent out on Friday. We called again on Friday and she confirmed that YES, we did check out and YES, our I-171 was being mailed that afternoon. We have since talked with Sue, our wonderful agency director, and she has confirmed that we are still penciled in for the August 12th embassy appointment. What that means is....IF we get our I-171 in the next couple of days and IF the National Visa Center has also received it THEN we will be traveling in less than 2 weeks! Needless to say, we are in a manic scramble trying to get all the plans nailed down and get everyone ready for traveling to Africa and starting school while we are gone.

Currently, I am full of emotions: excitement, anxiety, fear, sadness at missing my kids first day of school and joy that I am about to meet my 2 new kids. Brent memorized Isaiah 41:9-10 last week and it has been a HUGE encouragement for us:

9 "I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
God is so good. He provides all our needs and does uphold us with His "righteous right hand".
I will keep you all posted the next few days when we get the official "green light" to go ahead with our travel plans. Regardless, we will be leaving in either 2 or 4 weeks. We really appreciate all your prayers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Fun II

It has taken me much longer than I had hoped to finish this post. We had VBS last week at church and it seemed that I had no time for anything extra. I was so tired every afternoon that I had to nap. Having 20 first graders, 14 of which were boys (mine and his best buddies included) got a little wild and crazy! I was excited to have a little boy that is newly adopted from Ethiopia in my class. He was absolutely precious! Ryan (my son) was excited to get to know him and thought he was the fastest runner he had ever seen :-). It was really an honor to get to have him in my class for the week! We had a great week and I hope that these kids took away some Bible truth and are closer to having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!!!

In the last "Summer Fun" post I left off with pics from our Ethiopian dinner experience. The following are the other pics that didn't make the last post....

Brent and Hayley "stuffed" after eating A LOT of food. Hayley LOVES Ethiopian food!!! Brent told me earlier that day that he better eat a big lunch because he didn't think he was going to like the food. To his surprise he LOVED it too and is ready to go to Ethiopia to get some more!

After we were finished eating the waitress invited our kids to come into the kitchen to see the ladies making injera, the sour, spongy, tortilla like bread that is a staple in any Ethiopian's diet.

We had a nice relaxing visit with my parents and managed to make it to the pool a couple of times while they were here. My dad grew up in Pensacola, FL literally with the bay in his backyard. He has always loved the water and had fun playing at the pool with the kids.
Hayley, "Pops" and Whitney

Whitney and Pops
The kids had fun having Pops and Uncle Mark throw them in the pool :-)

For the 4th, after a trip to the pool, we went over to our neighbors house for dinner. I got to meet another family who has been thinking about adopting. As it turns out since that night, they have already turned in their application and started the process to go to Ethiopia and bring home a little boy or maybe even siblings.

Whit and her good friend Brooklyn at Brooklyn's house.

Brent setting off some sort of firework. You light it and hold it while it shoots up in the air out of your hand. Kinda scary!

Ryan with his new buddy a few doors down. We are so thankful to have some new, wonderful, Christian neighbors!

Whitney found a place to chill and watch the firework action.

We went to Ravenwood High School and met up with friends and neighbors to watch the Crockett Park firework display

A firetruck showed up to watch the firework display. They let the kids climb on it and passed out fireman hats. Hayley, Whitney and a friend above on the truck.

Hopefully, we have many more fun pics to come in our last few weeks of summer :-( I can't believe summer is almost over. The only good thing about summer being almost over is that it brings us closer to going to get our kids. We are still waiting for our immigration paperwork. If we don't get it in the next few days our travel date will be pushed back another 2 weeks to the end of August. We are trusting God that it will all work in His perfect timing. Have a great Tuesday!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Press On...

Summer Fun II is coming, but I had some things on my mind that I wanted to share first. I am reading the book Radical by David Platt right now. It has a very convicting message. Back in the fall, God gave both Brent and I the word "Radical." This was before we knew about the book coming out and before we were even serious about adopting. When we began to really pray and seek about the whole adoption thing we began to connect some dots. Maybe this was part of the "radical" God was calling us to. However, after reading this book, I am not sure it ends there. The question David asked last night was, "Do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following him?"

As I was thinking about how this relates to our adoption, the radical that God has currently called us to, I wanted to clarify some things. I know that many think we are crazy. Many have told me to my face and many more, I am sure, have talked behind our backs. We have been asked about how they will adjust, about their past and how emotionally hurt they have been. We have been asked about how we will communicate with them. Others have asked if we are worried about bio kids and how this will affect them. I was asked how we would pay for their college and if I could afford them. Many, many of you have just asked why? Why would you spend thousands of dollars and bring two possibly troubled children into your perfect little family? The short answer is...Jesus!

I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers and that I do not fear. I have had MANY fearful moments these last couple of months. There have been lots of moments where I ask myself, "what have we done?" However, I have an overwhelming peace that cannot be explained apart from knowing our Lord. When I study the word and Jesus' life I am encouraged that we ARE in the center of God's will for our life.

Many in America, even some of the largest TV evangelists, will tell you that you can know you are in the center of God's will for you life when things are going good for you and you are prospering. I am sorry, but that is NOT what the Bible says. Jesus sent his disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse those who have leprosy. In other words, they were to go where nobody else would and put themselves at risk of disease. He also sent them out to be "sheep among wolves." He told them that All men would hate them because of Him. This doesn't sound like the prosperity gospel to me!

I want you to know that we do not expect all to be a fairy tale with this adoption. We know we have some tough days ahead. We do not want you to think that when the tough days come, that we are assuming that we made a mistake and maybe we misunderstood our calling. We are 100% sure that this is what God wants us to do. We are confident that what God has called us to, He will give us the the strength to walk through.

The question then is: What is God calling you to do? Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to care for the poor, the sick, the orphan and the widow. I know that there have been MANY missed opportunities to serve God in my life. Far too often I choose to serve myself. I know that this adoption is a very small sacrifice compared to the others around the world who have given their lives and maybe even their family's lives for the gospel to be spread. I am not pretending to have the answers or that I have figured it all out. I struggle EVERYDAY to deny self and some days I succeed part of the time and many days I do not.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers (& sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But, one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:12-14

The scripture above is my prayer. I may have failed in the past (maybe even this morning:-), but I will continue to press on and not give up. This was a hard post to write, but it has been weighing on me. I hope it spoke to someone. Even as I was writing it, God was speaking to me! Have a great weekend! Summer Fun II is coming soon....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Fun

We are still waiting for our travel dates. We got news last week that the US Embassy in Ethiopia is short staffed for the month of July. Normally, every agency has assigned embassy days each month and can bring 10 children before the embassy each embassy day to be adopted and come home. For the month of July, they can only bring 5 per embassy day. Our agency has an embassy day every other Thursday. They thought 19 kids would be coming home in July, but now only 10 can come home. Since we are still waiting for our immigration document to come in the mail, we were 2 of the 9 that got moved to August. The dates for August are the 12th or the 26th. We are hoping the document comes and we can travel for the August 12th appointment.
Meanwhile...I am in my manic nesting period. It doesn't matter if you are pregnant or adopting you still nest :-) When our kids finally come home my family will appreciate the break from mom's constant "cleaning out closets" and such! I am trying to plan to be as organized as possible so I can focus on being a mommy to 5 in a very short while!

We have managed to still fit in lots of fun. Two weeks ago we had our African Adoption Fellowship meeting at Kristi's house. I only took a few pics, but you can check out Kristi's blog, Sallee's blog or the Fellowship 686 blog for some more. Here are my few...

Whitney on stage jammin!

Hayley with Mercy and Jenna being silly.

Hayley and some others filling up water balloons.

We were excited to have my parents in town visiting this last week. While they were here we decided to visit an Ethiopian restaurant. I had already been to one, but with some much more experienced ladies who knew what to order. Fortunately, I had one of their phone numbers programmed into my phone and was able to call for some advice on how to order :-) We had great fun and the food was fabulous! If you haven't tried Ethiopian food yet it is REALLY good and that is saying a lot from one is known to be very picky!

I have some more pics to share, but for some reason I am having trouble uploading them. Sooo...stay tuned for Summer Fun part II...