Friday, June 25, 2010

Dossier arrived at agency and estimated DTE date!

Just received an e-mail from our family coordinator saying that our dossier had arrived, she had looked over it, and everything looked great! (Thanks to my awesomely organized hubby!)  She also said it would be reviewed again next week and that next Friday is likely when it will head to Ethiopia!!! 
DTE - July 2, 2010! 
(DTE means Dossier To Ethiopia - I kept seeing DTE on other people's blogs and wondering what it meant for the first couple of months into the process.  When I finally found out, I understood why they were so excited about "DTE"!)  What a great anniversary - July 3rd - gift that will be for us!  :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dossier is "in the mail"!

The dossier!
(In the background on the left is a picture of us taken on our honeymoon...  boy, were we young and clueless!  I am so thankful that God has been leading us over the last almost 17 years to this point.  Can't wait to see what the next 17 will hold!)
1" thick
21 weeks

I just about can’t believe that huge part of the process is complete. It's one of those times when we've focused all our effort and energy on one single thing, and once it's actually done it's kind of hard to change focus to so what comes next. 

Our agency will receive the dossier on Friday, review it several times, and in two or three weeks will send it to Ethiopia. From that point we will be placed on a waiting list and will “get in line” to receive our referrals.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dossier to be complete this week!

All we have left for the dossier to be complete is to have it "certified" by the county probate court and the Secretary of State's office.  (I'm not sure what the purpose of this is, but apparently other countries' governments like lots of official stamps on things...)  Anyway, we plan to have those things completed today and tomorrow and then we will add our "family photo pages" that I am almost done with. 
(Big smile!)

Friday, June 18, 2010


That is the LAST piece of paper we have been waiting on "someone else" for!  Now, we have to get some papers certified at county probate court and then certification at Secretary of State's office in Montgomery.  Hopefully, we can get those things done on Monday and Tuesday of next week.  WOW!  Can't believe we're this close to having the dossier completed!!  Wooo Hooo!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just thinkin'...

While sitting here uploading pix to have printed for our dossier, I was thinking about our children in Ethiopia.
I was thinking about...

-how I just can't wait to meet them, to see their faces in person for the first time and to kiss their sweet little cheeks.

-how I look forward to finding out just a few of the innumerable ways God has coordinated all the miraculous circumstances over the course of their lifetimes and ours (and even before) so that He could bring us together at just the right time.

-how we'll love them more than we know them - simply because God gave them to us and because He has placed that love in our hearts for them.

Oh, how I pray that God is preparing their hearts to become a part of our family as He prepares ours to welcome them into their new - and forever! - home. 

And I just kind of feel like today has been an important day for them somehow.  (I know that sounds kind of crazy - and maybe it is - but...)

Orphan's Ticket Home

Last week at our church's VBS, the missions offering was for
We did Group's High Seas Expedition VBS, and the Kid-to-Kid project was to make blankets which will go to children in orphanages in Africa.  It's great when the missions offering can tie in to the theme, so we chose Orphan's Ticket Home.

Orphan's Ticket Home is an initiative of America World Adoption Association.  The VBS missions offering  will supply diapers, formulas, bottled water, blankets and bedding, medical expenses, and clothes for the babies and children at their Ethiopia Transitional Home. Inflation has hit Ethiopia and there is a $9.25 exchange rate, so it’s $9.00 just for a bottle of formula and $8.00 for 20 diapers!

Part of America World’s work in Ethiopia is to implement development projects for orphans and vulnerable children. One of those projects in rural Ethiopia is to help run a transitional home that receives abandoned children from neighboring orphanages to care for and prepare them for transition of adoption. Supporting this project will help these children have an opportunity to find permanent families in both Ethiopia and abroad. The money donated will provide basic needs such as daily nutrition, medical treatment, clothes, toys, and 24 hour a day nanny care.

The kids brought in over $360 for Orphan's Ticket Home! 

I must say that I am very proud of my kids for giving their own money. I love seeing them be generous and thinking of others first, especially when they are all trying to save up for something special.  It was a big deal for them to take some of that money out of their savings to give to others since they will have to work extra hard to replace it, but I know they will.  (They are all trying to save up to buy Nintendo DS's for the long Ethiopia trip - and nobody wants them to reach their goal more than I do!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I600A news... or not...

We have heard that our application has been recommended for approval and that now it is sitting on someone else's desk for that approval.  So glad God can see it and move it along as He sees fit!  We have no control, but thank goodness HE does!  So, we wait...  (what else is new?)

Free Audio Bibles for the Whole World!

I want to let you know about a ministry that I have enjoyed getting to know about over the last few years and that has come to my mind more and more over the last few days since finishing R A D I C A L. (I think you’ll like it, too.)

The mission statement of Faith Comes By Hearing is to record and use heart-language Audio Bibles to bring His church together and make disciples from every nation, tribe, language, and people.

FCBH is a ministry I was introduced to through our favorite homeschool curriculum company – Sonlight Curriculum. A few years ago they sent a CD with testimonies of lives changed through God’s Word which had been translated by Faith Comes By Hearing. In the U.S. we so often take the Word of God for granted, having multiple copies in multiple versions in our homes. We can not fully comprehend the difference that being able to hear the Bible in your own heart-language makes in the lives of those who have never heard. In some cases, pastors are hearing the Bible in their own language for the very first time! They have been struggling to lead their congregations without even having the Bible in their own language. One of the testimonies was of a pastor whose only Bible was in Spanish. He read scripture in Spanish and preached in Spanish, even though his congregation did not speak Spanish. Through FCBH, all the congregation can now hear God's Word in the language they best know and understand.  Obviously, having the Word of God in their own language has made a miraculous difference in those lives.

One exciting program of FCBH is intended to provide an audio copy of God’s Word to our nation’s military personnel serving around the world through military BibleSticks. The Military BibleStick is a digital audio player that is pre-loaded with a dramatized recording of the entire New Testament. The Military BibleStick comes pre-loaded with the entire New Testament. It is rugged enough to withstand tough weather conditions, can be used in low-light situations, and it easily fits into uniform pockets. Learn more here.

I am also very excited that I have been able to download an Amharic New Testament to listen to. Of course, I have no clue as to what exactly is being said, but I sure do enjoy listening to it! You can download yours here, and you can read about some of the work Faith Comes By Hearing is doing in Ethiopia here.
Please check them out and see what amazing things they are doing to spread God's Word to the entire world!

So then faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

R A D I C A L has ruined my life

I read “R A D I C A L”. It came Thursday, and despite having VBS Friday morning and working on the VBS slide show some on Friday night, I still finished it Saturday morning. Awesome. I want everyone I know to read it. (Yeah, I want your life to be ruined, too!)  Read it.  You will not regret it. Truly life-changing. Truly. Life-changing.

Most of the things in the book God has already been teaching me and revealing to me. But what was so great was to have those things affirmed and to be challenged to more deliberately and passionately live the way Christ commanded - rather than just living the typical "I am an American Christian, and I am so glad God has blessed me" life.  Things that God has been speaking to me about and that I have been changing gradually will now be put as a top priority in my life.  And I'm very excited about the way God is using this book to work in my heart.  (Get it! Read it!)

One topic that he spoke of in the book was the number of people in the world who have never even heard the name of Jesus. That was something that has been “concerning” to me over the years, but unfortunately there was not an urgency that affected me very deeply. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel I could do much about it, or maybe partially because I never stopped to really think that long and hard about it, or maybe, even though I grew up in the Baptist church all my life and was taught about needs around the world, I guess I just never really considered it my personal responsibility. I'm not saying I didn't care. I did. I felt bad about it and wanted it to change, but, I mean, what could I really do about it?  

That was then.

This is now....

This morning in church we sang “Revelation Song”. Normally when I hear or sing that song I am moved by the beauty that I imagine I will experience on that day and the emotion of worshiping before the very throne of God. I usually cry (or at least tear up) when I attempt to envision how amazing it will be. It is an awesome song.

But today was different.  All I could imagine was what eternity will be like for the billions – both throughout history and who are now living around the world – who have never had an opportunity to hear the name of Jesus. They have never been told of his majesty, glory, or amazing love. Never told of his sacrifice. Never told of the opportunity they have to know the one, true God. It was if I could hear them saying, “Why did I never hear about Jesus? WHY did I never hear?”

What would it be like to realize that you had missed out on spending eternity with God – not because you had been told about him and had rejected Him, but because you had never been presented with the gospel? You never had a chance. You lived your entire life on earth without the opportunity to know him - to experience his love, his peace, his power, his strength in your daily life - and now you will spend eternity separated from him, paying for your sin. You realize that Jesus paid the price for your sin, but you never had the chance to accept his gift because no one ever told you, and now it is too late. You are paying the price for your own sin.

Please take a few minutes to listen, read the lyrics, and pray for those who have never heard.  (The part of the song where I completely lost it begins at 3:22 about the name of Jesus - the name that billions have never even heard.)
"Revelation Song"

I’m ruined. I don’t think I will ever see anything the same way again. Everything is different. I cried (wept, actually) when we sang the song in church today and continue to cry every time I let myself think about what it would be like to not know Jesus. I’m crying now while typing this.

I’m ruined. But I don’t want to go back. Ever.

(By the way, if you want to read the book, you can order it through our page. If you can’t wait that long, I completely understand. Just get it! You can also listen to applicable sermons by Dr. David Platt at Go to "Resources" page for links.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

USCIS Appointment - DONE!

Had our USCIS "biometrics" (electronic fingerprinting) appointment in New Orleans yesterday.  We were thankful that when we were assigned our appointments, that we got NOLA (the closest option) - and that the date was a "good" one!  We took the whole family plus my mom and made a day of it. 

Our first stop of the day was Krispy Kreme! (All good road trips begin there, don't they?)  They were giving away free donuts yesterday, so we HAD to go there!  Next we made the drive to New Orleans.  The drive went smoothly.  We got there a little early, so we decided to stop somewhere quick and get some lunch.  We should have had more than enough time, but there is so much road construction that we were almost late getting to the USCIS office.   That could be disastrous, because if you are late, they can consider your application "abandoned"!  Thankfully, we got there just in time, and there was no problem. 

It took about an hour to go through the "process".  (About 1 minute to go through security, 4 minutes to fill out a form, 50 minutes sitting in the waiting area, and another 5 for the actual fingerprinting.)  It could have been much quicker if they had had more than one person at a time working.  There were two people working, but I guess it was lunch time for them, so only one person was working at any given time.  Six windows.  ONE person working...  The same person was having to work the window AND do the fingerprinting.  (It was frustrating, but it made me think of missionary friends who have to deal with immigration requirements in foreign countries and that what they have to go through is probably way more frustrating than our little appointment yesterday.)

Our papers said that no one "extra" could come in, so my mom sat in our van in the parking garage with our four kids for the whole HOUR!  (She's awesome!  Thanks, Mom!)  I was finished first, so I went on down to the van while Michael was still waiting.  When I got there, all the kids had to go to the bathroom (anyone surprised by that?), so I took them back inside.  But, in order for them to go into the bathrooms, they all had to go through the security scanner first.  Everyone was fine except for D, because he had a studded belt on and had to remove it.   I think they all got a kick out of it.  Shortly after we got back to the van, Michael was done, and we were able to get on with our fun.

First, we had planned on going to the Zoo, but the rain dictated that we go to the Aquarium of the Americas instead.  After that, we wandered around the Riverwalk mall for a little while.  I think everyone's favorite part was the beignets.  (duh!)  We also had planned to eat dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant that we had found on-line, but when we "finally" found the address it was closed!  We were very disappointed...  and ended up eating at Ruby Tuesday instead.  Oh, well, we tried.

All in all, it was a fun day...  AND the best news is that we're one step closer to having the dossier done! 

Petting stingrays at Aquarium of the Americas...

yummmmm..... beignets at Riverwalk

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"...Taking back your faith from the American Dream"

While looking for home school materials on the internet this morning, I came across the new/first/only (so far) book by David Platt.  It caught my attention because one of our friends/Michael's former student (from back when he was a student pastor) is on staff with David Platt at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. 

I needed to order a book on preparing college transcripts (what I went looking for to begin with), so I added the book to my order.  I can't wait to get it.  God's been challenging me for a while now with a lot of the things apparently talked about in the book, and I am so excited (and a little apprehensive) about reading it.  (One reviewer said that when you read it you continually bounce between "ouch" and "amen".)

The more I read about it, the more interested I became in it. I also found where you can download the first chapter for free here if you're as impatient as I am or just want to see more of what it's about.  Also, you can listen to David's related sermon series here, but get ready to be challenged! I listened to the first one earlier, and can't wait to listen to the others. Just go down to "Sermon Resources" and click on the chapters. 

I know this isn't specifically "adoption-related" but I just wanted to share it with everyone.  I think this book will be life-changing.

(Also, if you do plan to get it, don't forget to go through our affiliate link so we get a portion of the cost to put toward our adoption.  It's only $9.99 there, and retail is $14.99!)