Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dossier going to Ethiopia and other miracles...

I got an email from Debbie today (my awesome case manager at CCI) and she told me that my dossier got sent to Ethiopia today! WOW! What a fast turnaround! I mean, my dossier got sent from the courier service on Wednesday, it arrived at CCI on Thursday night, and it has been sent off to Ethiopia by Saturday morning!

God has definitely had His hand on this whole process since He led us from Guatemala to Ethiopia. Everything has gone so smoothly and I know it is only because my Father has had his hand of protection over us, orchestrating the whole thing. He has certainly made me a believer in miracles. Take yesterday for example...

(Now, I know a lot of you are going to say, "Yeah, right!" after reading the following text... So, if you don't believe that God is capable of miracles, stop reading right now.)

I travelled with the kids to a dear friend's house in Elgin (about an hour's drive away). To get to her house and back, there are two toll booths on the highway. I looked in my purse for change for the tollbooth for the trip home, and came up with just short of two dollars and a handful of pennies. I knew I needed $2.75 for the toll booth, and that pennies were not accepted. I told the kids about our dilemma, and they started looking for change in the backseat. (Now, you mommies who are reading this can relate!)

We drove through the first tollbooth, and I paid the $1.50 for the toll. The kids and I prayed that the Lord would provide for our needs, and that His provision would get us through the next toll booth. I stopped at a McDonalds halfway home for dinner, and asked the clerk if I could pay with a debit card and get cash back. Nope.

After receiving our food, I stopped in the McD's parking lot to take survey of our change. Rachel had found a quarter in the back seat that I added to my collection. After I counted up the change (minus pennies) I had $2.50! I had enough for the $1.25 toll, enough to pay Rachel back her quarter, and a dollar left over!

Now, you may be shaking your heads and saying to yourself, I just must have miscounted. But let me ask you this... Do you have enough faith to believe that God is able to turn pennies into nickels and dimes? Do you believe that He can turn water into wine, or provide enough oil for a widow and her son to sustain them and keep from going hungry? Do you believe that He can change a river into blood or cause fish to flood the nets of the fishermen who had previously caught none?

Our God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine according to his power (Ephesians 3:20). I believe that the God who can part the Red Sea is able to cause my pocket change to increase. How about you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I got the cameras back from Walgreens. I am so disappointed with the pictures that we got. The two cameras I sent to Ethiopia had 24 exposures on them each, and I only got about 5-6 pictures off of each camera. Most of them were very dark (I am guessing that they didn't know how to use the flash) and I couldn't make out any of the figures very well. There was only one good picture each of Simbona and Sena.

In Sena's pictures, I could see the photo album of our family that we sent along for her. Although it was very dark, there was a picture of her looking through the photo album. The orphanage workers had put her in her little outfit that we had sent her, and I saw another picture with the soft blanket that we had sent for her.

Simbona's camera was basically empty, with a picture of some woman that I didn't know, someone's stomach and the floor, and two blurry pictures of another boy in the orphanage. This is the only picture that I have of him. I'm not sure what he's holding... it's not anything that we sent with him. The kids and I have tried and tried to make it out, to no avail. What do you think it looks like?

I can't wait to see them in person! Sena's hair looks like it has grown, and Simbona's cute and chubby face looks like it is slimming down.

What a Christmas blessing!

Today I received a phone call from Caring Hands (the courier service in Washington, DC), and they told me that they had completed the necessary authentications with the E. Embassy and the Dept. of State. They are sending Dossie to Celebrate Children (my agency) so that it can be forwarded on to Ethiopia! YAY!

Also today, I received the cameras in the mail from Blessing the Children in Ethiopia. I have rushed them to Walgreen's one hour service and am anxiously awaiting the pictures of the babies!

Thank you, Lord for the Christmas blessings.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Who could resist?

Today, I watched quietly while Keaton played by himself in the kitchen. He had on his dad's racquetball goggles and a red beanie hat. He was using the dryer lint brush to play hockey with his sister's patent leather shoe. It's actually a perfect hockey stick, as it is just his size and you can curve the wire brush on the end into a hockey-stick fashion. He was having a ball. Who wouldn't want more kids with entertainment like this?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas surprise!

Today we shared our "surprise" with our family... that we are adopting! We have kept it a secret until Christmas time, because traditionally, this is when we typically shared that we were pregnant. (As a matter of fact, last year, we pretended to have an "announcement", and everybody held their breath until we told them that we DIDN'T have an announcement".) It was pretty funny.

This year, we bought 4 copies of the book "Adoption is a Family Affair" by Patricia Irwin Johnston. It is an "adoption 101" guide for the families of those who are adopting. We wrapped them up and gave them as gifts to moms, dads, and grandparents. It was a wonderful way to surprise our families!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Scripture for the day

But you, O Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham
my friend.
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from the farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant''
I have chosen you and have
not rejected you.
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.
All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you will be as nothing
and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, 'Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob,
O little Israel,
for I myself will help you',
declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One
of Israel.
- Isaiah 41:8-15

Now, after reading this, you may be thinking that this Scripture is pertinent to those tiny little orphans who are waiting in Ethiopia for their Mommy and Daddy. This is certainly true. But, I propose that this Scripture pertains to Kevin and I as we walk through this adoption journey. The Lord chose us out of all the people in the world to parent these two precious children. This is quite an enormous calling; one that will take a great deal of patience, strength, and gentleness. I am standing on the promises of God that He will equip us to undertake this calling. For NOTHING is impossible with GOD!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Excellent Christmas present

Today Debbie emailed me and told me that the disposible cameras that I sent to Ethiopia were being mailed to me by CCI. Blessing the Children, International mailed the cameras from Ethiopia to CCI, and they should get here soon! I can't wait to see the new pictures of those sweet faces.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We got our referral today!

CCI emailed us our "official" referral today for the babies. Typically, when people typically receive a referral of a child from Ethiopia (from other agencies), people are generally ecstatic, because they have been waiting SO long to identify their adoptive child. However, in our case, we identified our adopted children long before receiving the referral, so our process was a little bit backwards... The babies have been "on hold" for us since CCI's visit to Ethiopia in September.

But, of course, we are thrilled to finally have the referral! It's just another step closer to havin' those babies! YAY!

By the way, today's Erin's 7th birthday. What a great present for the entire family! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our dossier is travelling the world!

Today I mailed our dossier to the courier service in Washington, DC. I have to tell you, I hated to stick those precious documents in the mail (via FedEx) in hope that they will ultimately reach their destination... I have been working SO HARD and SO LONG on these papers, that I have almost established a relationship with them. I actually have my paperwork named... Dossie (short for Dossier). I would just melt into a crumpled heap if Dossie gets lost or damaged. Honestly, it really is SUCH an amazing thing that adoptions ever get finalized. If you will remember, a grommet actually came out of my home study after I got it authenticated at the OK Secretary of State. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. If any grommets, staples, paperclips, attachments, etc., are removed (or fall off due to over-handling) the document is considered NULL and VOID and has to be done over again. AAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHH! At this point, one might want to slash their wrists. Then again, maybe one should just TRUST that the Lord will oversee the whole process. After all, the kids and I prayed over Dossie before we sent him to FedEx.

Dossie has to go on the following excursion before it is all said and done with...

1. Dossie leaves my loving, careful hands via FedEx to the courier service in Washington DC.
2. The courier service takes Dossie to the US Department of State in Washington, and they rifle through his paperwork and stamp, stamp, stamps him.
3. The courier then takes Dossie to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC. OOF! More rifling and stamping.
4. The courier stuffs Dossie in the mail and sends him to my adoption agency in Florida. (This is where Dossie goes on a bumpy trip in a FedEx plane where he rides under literally tons of other mail and packages...)
5. Once arriving in Florida, one or more staff members at CCI tears through his pages, making sure everything is all there.
6. Once he sits on someone's desk at CCI for awhile, Dossie gets stuck in another envelope and sent to Ethiopia.
7. Someone in Ethiopia receives him, and sends him to a company where he will be interpreted from English to Amharic (the official language in Addis, Ababa).
8. Once Dossie is done with interpretation, he will go to the Ethiopian foreign minister, who for authentication. I imagine there is more stamping and rifling. Maybe even some stapling.
9. Then, Dossie gets an appointment in Court, where someone rips through his pages. Paperclips and grommets have taken quite a beating at this point!
10. Once he is out of court, Dossie goes to MOWA (the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs), where he recieves passport approval.
11. If he is not ripped to shreds by this point, Dossie goes to the Embassy and we get to pick up our REAL babies! No more paper babies at this point! (Sorry, Dossie!) CAN'T WAIT!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

God is SO good!

God's mercy is so incredible. Even though He knows how little my faith is, He doesn't condemn me. He is so merciful and blesses me, anyway. Here is a perfect story of His love and compassion for the undeserving...

We were told that CCI, our adoption agency, had been approved to adopt children from Ethiopia since June 2007. From what I understood, everything was in order for CCI except for some ominous "document" that was holding the whole process up. I trusted that God would provide that document in His perfect timing, and that everything would work according to His time frame.

That being said, a few adoptive mommies who are adopting from CCI also, started to email me privately about some anxieties that they were having about pursuing their adoptions with CCI. They seemed to be worrying that CCI was not going to be able to follow through with their Ethiopian contract, and they considered changing agencies. As crafty as the enemy is, he started to put fear and worry in my heart through these interactions with these "mommies". I started doing research on the internet about Ethiopian adoptions. I found some alarming things that fueled my fear and doubt.

The US Dept of State had a statement on its website about Ethiopian adoptions. It says:
The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that there are several American adoption agencies known to have bona fide licenses to facilitate international adoptions from Ethiopia to the United States. The Department of State is aware that there are American and foreign adoption agencies and individuals, located in both countries, who claim they can assist with adoptions in Ethiopia. Few orphanages are licensed to care for children in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption.

Another prominent adoption website, says:
The Ethiopian government has authorized very few adoption agencies to operate in that country. If adoptions are attempted by outside means, the children will not be eligible to receive permission to exit the country.

Well, as you can imagine, after reading these things, I started to doubt the fact that CCI was every going to get its contract completed. I felt like it may be an impossibility to ever hold Sena and Simbona in my arms. I couldn't sleep. So, at 11:00 pm, I fired off an email to my case manager from CCI (Debbie), expressing my concerns and fears.

Debbie responded to me and told me that the only thing holding CCI up was a registration letter that was supposed to be filed with MOWA (the Ethiopian Ministry of Womens Affairs, who has jurisdiction over adoptions). She told me that correspondent in Ethiopia, Derje, had told her that he had spoken to the president of Ethiopia and tried to get the ball rolling on this letter. Debbie said that there was nothing more she could do, short of moving to Ethiopia and getting hired at MOWA herself, and that we should be fervent in PRAYER. Both she and I enlisted a lot of people to pray for this issue.

That night before bed, I prayed and prayed. I mainly prayed for forgiveness for my lack of faith and trust. I asked God to calm my fears and anxiety about not ever seeing Simbona and Sena. I asked for His forgiveness for taking this issue into my own hands and for not leaving it in His.

Two days later, I got a call from Debbie. CCI recieved the registration letter! WHAT A MERCIFUL GOD! He knows me well enough to know that I would stew about this every day until it got resolved. He knew that I needed to see this miracle so that my faith in Him would grow. He knows how much we want these babies to come home to us. He is merciful and compassionate on me, by granting that the letter be finalized only two days after I started to feel anxiety over the issue.

Now, CCI is OFFICIALLY listed as an agency licensed to provide adoptions from Ethiopia. One step closer to bringing the babies home! Thanks to my God!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We got the pictures!

Today is a yukky, rainy day. We have been without power (electric) for over 24 hours because of a huge ice storm that hit Oklahoma on Sunday night. The power shut off at around 7:30 am yesterday morning. It finally got cold enough in our house (60 degrees) that we decided to go to my husband's mother's house (who lives about 10 minutes from us and has electricity). She is out of town visiting family, so we have the house to ourselves. It is smaller than ours, and the kids are going stir-crazy, but I am so thankful to have power so I can cook and at least watch TV (and, of course, be on the COMPUTER) hee, hee.

I went by our house today to pick up the mail and the CD that Debbie sent me was in the mailbox! It has tons of pictures of Sena and Simbona on it. I am going to try to post a lot of them on here (if I can figure out how), so you can all see how incredibly adorable they are. :) The arrival of these photos sure do put a little sunshine in an otherwise cruddy day.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The girls are getting ready!

Erin and Rachel are making their own "preparation" for the babies. I told them that in order to make them stronger so that they could carry the babies, that they should lift weights. (Jokingly) However, these diligent ladies got some canned carrots and soup cans, and they are lifting "weights" on their own, daily, to build up those little muscles. They can't WAIT to hold, carry, and snuggle their brother and sister!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Keaton's big plans

Keaton could not get to sleep tonight. I'm not sure why, but his little brain was on overload. (I know this because he sleeps with us.) He kept popping his head up, talking about things. Tonight, his topic was Simbona. He told me that Simbona could play with his tractors. He told me that Simbona could have his crib (OF COURSE, since he HATES it)... Hee, hee. He told me that Simbona could go with him to a Blazers hockey game (this was fresh on his mind, as Daddy and Ryan took him to a Blazers game on Friday night.) He is really looking forward to meeting and playing with his brother!

Friday, December 7, 2007


I have to tell you about this horrible dream I had last night....

I was in Florida at CCI (my adoption agency) for some reason, meeting with Sue (the agency owner) about the babies. I was supposed to be there to pick them up and take them home, as the babies had been flown to FL for us to pick them up. However, I was there without Kevin... all alone.

When I met with Sue, I asked her where the babies were. She told me that an older woman had called her and adopted the babies, and that she had already taken them. She explained that since I had not filled out an official referral form for them, that they had been adopted out to someone else. (At this point, the dream is really scary, because I HAVEN'T filled out official referral forms for the babies yet!) I told Sue that my case manager, Debbie, had placed the children on "hold" for us, and that they were OURS! I showed Sue the two or three pictures that I carry around with me of the babies, as proof. I told her that we had sent care packages for them through Blessing the Children, and that the packages included pictures of us. She just shook her head (without a lot of empathy) and said, "I'm sorry. They're gone. There's nothing I can do."

She started showing me pictures of other kids that I could adopt, most of them from other countries. NO! I said. I AM NOT CHANGING COUNTRIES AGAIN! She showed me a picture of a cute girl who was available for adoption from Hawaii. NO! I screamed again. I was crying so hard.

She tried to take me to a room where there were a lot of other children up for adoption, waiting for families. (It was almost as though my agency was an orphanage of some sorts.) She brought me into a room (picture a church nursery-type room) and there were about 20 kids ages 2 and up in there. She brought a little girl to me and told me that she was 20 months old. (She was white.) NO! I said. She's cute and all, but Sena and Simbona are my babies! She put the little girl next to me and the little girl kind of reluctantly snuggled up to my side. I told her NO, that we wanted a baby younger than 20 months old. I was bawling and laying back onto one of the babies' beds, and a big group of little boys came up to me saying, "You can be MY mommy! You can adopt ME!" I felt SO sorry for them!

Then, she took me back to her office and looked through my paperwork. There were several documents missing from my file that I KNEW were supposed to be at CCI. Then, I saw her reading a computer screen, and noticed that she was looking through MY personal emails on my email account. I asked her, "HOW did you get THAT!" She looked startled that I saw her reading my emails, and told me that she got them from the Toyota car dealership. (This was really the only funny thing about my dream.)

Well, obviously, the dream doesn't end in my favor. I guess I must be stressing out about signing a formal referral or something! I just have this sick feeling because a lot of my important paperwork is out there "floating around" someplace. One of the CDs that Debbie had sent me of the pictures of the kids was lost in the mail, it took forever to get the CCI documents here and correct, now the CCI documents are somewhere in Florida right now getting state certified (I hope!)

I want to remind you that whoever said that being pregnant was hard (was that ME?) needs to try on the adoption process for size! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh, no!

I was going through the state certified dossier documents today, getting ready to make some copies of them, and I noticed that the metal grommet on the certified home study has fallen off! UGH! I guess I will be driving back to the State Capital some time next week to get that redone.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

CCI letters appear

Yay! The letters I have been waiting for have arrived. And they appear to be correct (from the best I can tell...) I will be sending them by mail to the FL Secretary of State's office on Monday to get them state certified...