Monday, March 29, 2010

We want to hear from you...

(All comments are moderated.)


Leslie G said...

Can you give us a summary of the process and approximate timeline for an Ethiopian adoption? I know adoption processes vary from country to country and are constantly changing....but as best you can, with us understanding it's not written in stone and subject to change.....

Melinda said...

We have been told that it usually takes from 8-14 months depending on the age(s) of the child(ren), but I know of someone who waited about 20 months for an infant boy.

Ethiopia is one of the least expensive and shortest waits for adoption. Once the home study and dossier are complete, the Ethiopia Ministry of Women and Children will make a referral (at which point the family can accept or deny it). It may take a while to receive a referral, depending on the time of year, because the Ethiopian government shuts down between August and October for a vacation.

A few weeks after the referral is accepted, there is a court date at which any relatives who may have a claim on the child(ren) must appear and acknowledge that they understand the finality of adoption and relinquish the child(ren) - or choose not to do so. At that time both prospective parents may have to appear in court as well. (That requirement has changed twice in the last month, so it fluctuates whether it is a legal requirement or not, but it is recommended to do so even if not legally required at this moment.) Also on that trip, the parents will have some time to spend with the child(ren) to get to know them. This trip is normally a week or so.

After court has been passed, the child will go to live at a transition home run by our adoption agency for the next 2-3 months while the rest of the paperwork is finalized. At that point, one or both of the new parents may travel to pick up the child(ren) and bring them home. Sometimes an escort may be allowed to bring the child(ren) to the USA to be united with the family. (At least, this is the way I understand the process to work.)

There are millions of orphans in Ethiopia, many of whom have been "given up" by their poverty-stricken families in hopes of giving their beloved children a chance at a better life. Of course, there are also many children who are true orphans and have no living relatives.

We can't wait to meet our children and bring them home. So many people have said, "It's so great what y'all are doing", but I really think WE are the blessed ones. WE are the ones who are privileged to have such wonderful gifts become a part of our family.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for the information you have posted regarding the adoption process. We were recently accepted into the Ethiopia program at AWAA as well. We have turned in our agreement and sent an application to the home study agency.

How far have you made it with the home study process?

Melinda said...

We have finally gotten our home study documents squared away, and home visits should be scheduled soon (we hope!). :)

Jason and Stacy Cole said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Feel free to link to our blog and tell others about it. We love to tell people about God's plan for adoption and our privileged to be a part of it.

The Cole Familty

Jennifer said...

Hi! We adopted a little girl of a different race than the rest of our children. We deal with comments from the public constantly-some positive and some negative. My husband is a minister, and we are always looking for ways to educate others about adoption. I just so happened to be searching the internet for Southern Belle t-shirts, and I came across your design. Please tell me it is still possible to order this t-shirt, and, if so, how? Thank you so much, and I wish you the very best with your adoption. It is a difficult road but immeasurably rewarding!

Melinda said...

I am so glad you found us - it's great to know we came up when searching for Southern Belle t-shirts! Thank you for sharing a bit of you story with us.
YES, you can absolutely still order t-shirts! You can do it through our fundraising page if you want to use PayPal or you can contact me directly at I look forward to hearing from you! Have a great day! :)

The Roberts Five said...

do you still have t-shirts available? adult sizes. also, we were wondering what agency you are adopting through. we are 7 months into our wait for our Ethiopian son through CWA. enjoyed reading your blog!

Melinda said...

We do still have some t-shirts. We have In the men's style we have one adult medium and one adult XL. In the Southern Belle, I think we have at least one of each color in every size.

We are with AWAA. We LOVE them - they have been amazing every step of the way.

Glad you enjoy the blog. Lately I haven't posted as regularly as I once did. I just haven't been able to do get my thoughts together lately. (I have lots of thoughts - they are just so jumbled that I don't know how to express them so they might make sense to others! LOL)

Thanks so much for reading!

Melinda :)

Anonymous said...


I just found your website are searching for fundrasier information for our family who is about to begin the adoption process to get a little girl from Russia. I love your t-shirts that you sale and was wondering how you found this fundrasier and if you have any suggestions or advice on rasing money for our adoption. Thanks so much.

settlemoir said...


Beautiful pictures! It was great to read and see more about your trip. We recieved our referral this past Friday, so now we are waiting on our court date!

My wife, Janice has been concerned about the hair thing too, so it was funny to read your comment on that.

God bless,

Jon Settlemoir

Anonymous said...

Hi Melinda!

I don't remember how I stumbled onto your blog...maybe from AWA or just searching for Ethiopian adoption blogs. Yours stuck out because my husband attended the University of Mobile for awhile and a friend of his either interned or preached at Moffet Road for awhile.

I've loved reading about your journey and hope to gain some wisdom and insight from your experiences as we have applied with AWA to adopt two children ages 0-5 from Ethiopia. We have two biological children: a boy, age 12 and a girl, age 9. Do you mind telling the ages of your Ethiopian babes? Also, could you tell me how you came to the decision to adopt two at once and what the challenges/advantages you'd encountered?

I ordered your Southern Belle shirt for my daughter and she absolutely loved it! Planning on getting one for myself soon!

Praying for God's blessings on your sweet family!


Melinda said...

I'm SO thrilled you are adopting and also think you will be happy with AWAA. We could not have been happier with our experience with them as an agency.

We chose to adopt two because we always just felt like two was the number we were supposed to have. We never really considered just adopting one.

We asked for ages 2-8 and received referrals for a 4yo boy and 3yo girl. I LOVE having 2. There are many sibling groups available, and we wanted to provide a home for siblings. I also just thought it would be good for a new child in a new family in a new country to have someone who knew them back in Ethiopia and knew them their entire lives, especially since we wanted children who were not babies.

We have LOVED having older kids. It is so much fun. The language isn't that much of an issue. They understand most of what we say, and they are learning more and more English every day. They have little "hand jives" and songs that they like to sing. They were even playing some kind of card game the other day. I am really glad they have each other to talk to and play with - it seems like it would be pretty lonely to be in a new family with no one who could communicate with you.

God is already preparing your children for you and you for them. The way He brings families together is nothing less than miraculous. His plan is perfect, and our family is evidence that.

Please find me on FaceBook if you're on there. That's the real way of keeping up with what we're doing and how things are going.
(Melinda Wooley Pierce)

We are so excited for your family! YAY!


Anonymous said...

Dearest Melinda ~

Oh', my dear Jesus in Heaven, you received your babies! =) Yay! I am beyond happy for you and your family! They are beautiful little souls! My goodness, you better take many pictures of their beautiful 'baby' teeth! They have beautiful smiles, Melinda! Absolutely adorable in every way! I enjoyed watching the dinner table video! Too precious!!! The children (already) are well adjusted to our culture and way of life! It's amazing! You have successfully added two more miracles to your beautiful family. Congratulations to all! Well, I love you and could not be happier for you! Much love and adoration ~ Jan

kara said...

Thanks so much for answering my questions. I have LOVED watching all the videos you've posted. Love seeing "real life" and the way the kids talk, interact, etc. I could listen to them talk all day!! :) I think it's wonderful that they have one another as they're adjusting to totally new lives.

If you get a strange friend request on facebook it's probably me (Kara Bell Williams). I am glad to be able to continue to follow your journey. :)

We were waiting on the refinancing of our house to be completed before we sent in some documents that our agency requested to complete our application. I sent them in a week ago today, so am waiting with great anticipation to see if our application has been accepted. Hoping to hear in the next couple of days at the latest! Prayers appreciated!

Have a great week!

James1:27 for 2 said...

Hi Melinda, I found your blog through an America World Yahoo group and I just had to say how much I enjoyed seeing your videos and pics and reading your story. It sounds soooo much like ours! We are also a family of 6 who are looking forward to soon being a family of 8! We are waiting on our I171 form and then our dossier will be ready to be sent to Ethiopia. Our children now are a son, 17 and three girls 14,13,and 11. We have requested a sib group of 2 ages 0 - 4yrs. with at least one of them being a boy (our only sons only request :) During our 20 yrs. of marriage we too had often thought of adoption but life happened and it kind of got pushed to the back burner. BUT GOD, kinda got a hold of my husband and I both this summer and in everything around us showed us that adoption is what He had planned for us! (Not exactly what I had planned for my forties :) but now I wouldn't have it any other way. We know God has at least 2 more children out there that are meant to be with us and although the waiting time may get even longer because of the latest news, we know they will someday be home! Thank you for sharing your family...Blessings! Tina Upchurch
P.s. we are trying to start a blog but my computer illeteracy seems to continually get in the way! The name is