Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good news! VERY good news!

Michael has been calling regularly to check up on the progress of our fingerprints.  In the beginning they told him it would be a 13-week process and that there was nothing he could do about it.  Well... I guess they weren't counting on us praying about it, because just a little while ago he was told that they were being mailed out of Montgomery today! Not only have they cleared the VA process, they have also been through the AL DHR process. Yep, FOUR WEEKS!  That means we are one huge step closer to getting our home study done. 

"Adoption Night" at Chick-fil-A

Please join us for
"Adoption Fund" Night
at the
Schillinger Rd. Chick-fil-A
in Mobile, AL
April 22, 2010 from 5:00 & 8:30pm. 
Proceeds benefit the Moffett Road Baptist Church "Adoption Assistance Fund" which helps financially support church members (like us!) as they seek to adopt.  (Please be sure to mention you are there for the fundraiser.)  THANKS!

And if you need a good laugh today, be sure to watch Tim Hawkins sing the Chick-fil-A Song!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adoption videos

Here are a few sweet adoption videos. 
They take a little time, but they are worth it...

AWAA - Waiting Child Program

AWAA - Family Testimonies

An Ethiopian Adoption Story

Monday, March 29, 2010

We want to hear from you...

(All comments are moderated.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

God always provides!

Friday we spent $200 on our passports.  This morning the young adult Bible study class that Michael teaches gave us a gift of just over $200!  THANKS to our amazing friends!  You guys are truly blessings from God.

We began the adoption process fully relying on God's provision, knowing that we do not possess the resources to pay all the thousands of dollars on our own and that the money would have to come from Him.  We are thankful that there have been numerous people who have given generous monetary gifts all along the way, and we know that God had put it on their hearts to do so. We are so blessed that God has brought such great friends into our lives, and we are humbled by your love, support, and generosity.  We certainly are not worthy, and we are truly amazed by God's grace.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Applied for passports today!

Relatively painless, I must say.  Since we were going to need 4 pics of each of us (2 for the passports and 2 for the dossier), and we really didn't want to pay $7 or $8 apiece for just 2 photos, we decided to see if we could find something cheaper than paying about $30 for our pics. 
I found which had a link to the State Department's passport photo requirements and tips for taking your own photos.  We took our own photos according to their guidelines. I followed their instructions, uploaded my photos to the site, and used their positioning template to make my own passphotos.  Then I saved them to my computer, and uploaded them to be printed at my local Wal-Mart's 1-hour photo.  They were not ready when promised so we actually got them FREE! And, they passed the test today at the Post Office! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ethiopia "travel twice" rule changed/put on hold for now...

The March 10th change which stated that both prospective parents must travel to Ethiopia for the court date has been changed/put on hold.  At the moment, it is no longer a requirement for both parents to appear in court.  However, it is strongly advised that parents travel to make the court appearance anyway.  Now that we have had a couple of weeks to digest the change and to consider all the benefits that would come with it, I can't imagine not going - we will still be planning to go...  :)

"Adoption Tax Credit" News

Adoption Tax Credit has been extended and increased.
•The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011;
•The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from $12,170 to $13,170.
•The increase is “retroactive,” meaning that any adoption occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher credit.
•The credit is now refundable. This means that even families that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related expenses.

Go here to find out more:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More "fun" than I bargained for!

After we picked up the charcoal gray shirts this afternoon, I wanted to get a few pics of the boys wearing them to show off on the blog.  That's all I was asking for... a few "nice" pictures of the shirts.  Below are some examples of what I got: 
"Ha! Ha! Very funny, boys!"


"Seriously, boys, quit!"

"Cut it out, boys! I mean it!"

"Well, almost..."

"Close enough!"

Actually, it turned out to be a lot of fun.  We spent about 20 minutes laughing, and I actually got a few pics after all!  I love those rotten kids!

And Mattea had fun, too, watching the chaos from a "safe" distance!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The "Southern Belle" T-shirts Have Arrived...

           and will be shipping out tomorrow!

Aren't they CUTE?

(We ordered a few extras this time, so get yours before they are gone.  Next order scheduled to be placed in April.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update on "Fingerprint processing update"

So, a friend of ours who is with the FBI asked around to find out some answers for us.  This is what we were told:
Until recently, states had their own state office to handle fingerprint processing.  With the downturn in the economy, however, many states (including ours) have closed that state office and are now requiring that all fingerprints be sent to the federal level for processing.  That has led to an enormous backlog which affects everyone.  We also learned that adoption is third on the priority list for processing, meaning that any chance of getting a rush put on things is pretty much out of the question. Time for some more praying - and leaving it in God's hands.  Even though we tend to think "faster is better", we realize His timing is perfect.  So, it looks like yet another lesson in patience and trust is in the works...  ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fingerprint processing update...

We received notification that our fingerprint info arrived for processing by the FBI in Alexandria, VA on March 5th.  Since that time, we have heard nothing at all about it from anyone.  So Michael called around today to see what he could find out.  His first call resulted in being told that they literally receive 100,000 requests a day and that our fingerprints will be in "security" for 6 weeks before they move on to the next step.  Overall, it would take at least 13 weeks for them to be processed, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. 

Since that was not a satisfactory answer, he called around some more and finally spoke with the person whose job it is to enter the data into the computer.  Yes, that's right, the ONE person who has that job.  She said that they are trying to get her more help, but she's it for now.  (Doesn't seem like they would have to look that hard with 10%+ unemployment - just sayin'.)  The good news is that when he told her the date they should have arrived there, she was able to actually find our fingerprints and documents in a stack in her office.  So, we know they are there.  And she said she hoped to get to them by the end of this week.  (Bureaucracy is grand, isn't it?)

After our fingerprints are processed there, they still have to go to DHR in our state.  So, we definitely want them to hurry up and pass through the federal channels so they can get to the state for approvals. 

One thing I have realized is that I need to start praying more consistently for every single person who is handling our documents of any kind in any place.  God sees all our documents as they travel through their little paper paths from one place to another, and He never loses sight of them, so it only makes sense to ask for His guidance for both the documents and the people handling them.  (We are not, however, giving up trying to contact anyone who can help us; we're just adding the main ingredient necessary for a quick and favorable outcome.) 

Just one tiny aspect in the "adventure" of adoption, I suppose!  

P.S. I post these crazy little updates so that anyone considering adoption can see a little of what they may expect, so those going through it at this time can see they're not alone, and so that those who have gone through it already can see that nothing's really changed!   :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Been thinkin'...

Last Wednesday's announcement about the additional trip to Ethiopia was disconcerting at first, but as we've had time to digest it and think things through, I personally have actually begun to get really excited about the change.  Yes, it still will be difficult to meet our children and then leave them, but it will allow us to prepare better for them.  And all of us - them included - will have time to really think about the transition that is going to take place in our lives and to take a few steps back to get some perspective on it all.  I can't imagine how difficult it would be for a child to meet their new parents AND go home with them to America within a few short days.  Leaving everyone they know behind and moving to a strange new place with total strangers.... what a shock that would be! I know this will be better for all of us, and I am glad for the change.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Changes in Ethiopia process...

Received an e-mail today containing updates from our adoption agency.  Here is part of what it said:

"...the Ethiopian Federal Court announced a change in the court policies today. This change requires both prospective adoptive parents to appear at court in person to testify to their desire and commitment to adopt their referred child(ren).  Beginning today, families need to be prepared to travel to Ethiopia approximately 4 - 8 weeks after receiving a referral in order to be present in Ethiopia for their appointed court date. Families will remain in Ethiopia for roughly 5 -7 days and will then return to the US. After officially passing court, families will then travel back to Ethiopia approximately 10 -12 weeks later to pick up their adopted child(ren)."

This is a change from the original single trip lasting 8-10 days that we were expecting. 

We were surprised by this announcement today.  God was not.

Yes, it will take more of our time and at least a few thousand more dollars to bring our children home, but that isn't really what bothers me.  What I can't bear the thought of is meeting my children and then leaving them halfway around the world for 3 more months.  They are mine in my heart even now, and I haven't yet met them.  How in the world will I leave them for 3 long months?

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!"  Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Whew! Why am I so tired when I've just been "sitting" all day?

Today we worked on documents that are required solely for our "final application" for the agency that is handling our home study. (We decided to go with the first agency we met with, after all. These are not required for our dossier or for our adoption agency, just for the agency doing the home study.) 

Overall, Michael is taking care of the general organization, the budget, and the information and document gathering portion of the adoption process, and I am taking care of the fundraising and "writing" side of things, along with the blog. 

Here is what was completed and "checked off" today! 

1) A one-page "Statement of Motivation" about why we want to adopt a child, about how we arrived at this decision, and about how our family and friends feel about our decision and how we handle it. 

2) A one-page report on "Our Children" describing the children we would like to adopt, including nationality, gender and age range, and why we prefer those characteristics.

3) We EACH had to write an autobiography of at least 4 pages including answers to 2 full pages of questions about:
*our family dynamics as a child
*quality of our family relationships
*our childhood hobbies, interests, and problems
*our dating habits
*our courtship and marriage
*our current children
*people and events that influenced our lives
*medical history
*employment history
*religion and its influence in our lives
*decision to adopt
(Michael's ended up being 6 pages and mine was 7 pages.)

I have been sitting at the dining room table literally ALL day, but at least they are done!

My next writing assignment will be the application letter that is for the dossier and goes to the Ministry of Women and Children in Ethiopia and the non-employment letter explaining why I don't work outside the home.

Also, next week we will be completing our on-line adoption course that is required.  We have done a lot of work over the last few weeks, and the list is getting smaller!  ~YAY~! 

Update: Today we received our official copies of our marriage license from the state of MS.  We just mailed the request on Monday of this week.  That was surprisingly fast!  :)  Amazing what makes us smile these days...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


We went today down to MPD to be fingerprinted.  The lady who took our fingerprints was very sweet, and we had a good time talking with her.  She said we didn't act like we were married; we acted like we were good friends.  (I'm going to take that as a compliment!)  One more step toward our kids!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Michael spent about 6 hours "organizing" and filling out forms last night. And I can't even tell you how many times we had to sign our names! LOL   More today, plus I'm going to be starting on all of our essays, etc.