Saturday, July 31, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
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:
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
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
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.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
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.
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...