Sunday, October 30, 2011

Want to help me??

When we go to Ethiopia, we will bring some big tub containers of donations for the transitional home (Hannah's Hope) that our daughter is in.  It is a fabulous place with a wonderful staff who love all of the kids there really, really well.

One reason why they are able to provide for the children's needs so well is because of the donations that families bring over when they come.

We would love for anyone to be able to be involved in helping with donations!

I would love to be able to provide  for Hannah's Hope so they can continue to do what they are doing so well...caring for these sweet children!  Here is a list that our agency sent out with "urgent needs" just last week.


1.      Diapers (all sizes)
2.      Soy-based Formula
3.      Shoes and Clothing for Older Children (new or like-new)
4.      Shampoos, Conditioners, and Lotions for Older Children
5.      10-20 three-ring binders (2-3 inch)
6.      Cold medications for older children and adults
7.      Amoxicillin for all ages (250mg or 400mg)
8.      Whole Organic Flaxseed
9.      Slash Pocket Folders 
10.  Laptops, specifically one for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Mekelle, Tigray
11.  2-3 Pairs of Reading Glasses from CVS (actual prescription strength not known)

Here are some things that were mentioned that are on-going needs:

1. Baby Wipes
2. Bibs
3. Hand Sanitizer
4. Kleenex
5. Infant and Children's vitamins
6. Avent Bottles
7. Desitin (diaper rash cream)
8. age appropriate development toys for infants and toddlers
9. Blow up balls/outside toys
10. Sidewalk chalk
11. Bubbles
12. Children's DVDs or CDs
13. Men's and Women's deodorant
14. Good quality electric shaver
15. rechargeable camping lanterns (for when electricity is out)
16. Twin sheets (mainly flats) in children's patterns and colors (solid or print)


If you would like to help us with any of these items, please feel free to drop them off at my house at any time!  
If we aren't here, you can leave it on the porch!   You can email me, too, and I can pick them up!  Thank you, 
Thank you, thank you!!!

BIG WEEK!

This week was fabulous!!  WE GOT OUR COURT DATE!!!!!!  We will be heading to see our daughter in 33 days!  December 2!  We are so thankful to have gotten this news.  We got our referral on September 21, and then our court date on October 25(almost 5 weeks later).

After we return from court, it is usually 2 months until a family can travel back to pick up their child.  So, we are thinking that by Valentine's Day, we will have her home.  Of course, sometimes it is much longer than that, and we are praying it is even shorter than that!

We are so thankful that in less than five weeks, we will be able to meet our daughter!  We have many lists to check off between now and then, and it is going to be so much fun!  Packing, getting our daughter's room ready, getting shots (not so fun), gathering donations for Hannah's Hope (where our daughter lives now), and so much more!

We went out to eat to celebrate.  If you know us, you know we love Mexican, of course!  We don't love Ethiopian food (yet)!  So, our celebration night included one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  I had to show you this picture...

Austin took a bite out a chip and then looked at it and said, "Look!  It is Africa!"  :)



We were so excited to get that phone call that we could book our flights to see our daughter!!!  When I picked Austin up from school, I told him I got a very important phone call that day.  He immediately said, "WE GOT A COURT DATE FOR ETHIOPIA!" (Actually he said his little sister's name that I wish I could post!!! :) )

Other fun stuff:

Pumpkin Carving!!  Even better...this time next year our little girl (Lord willing!) will be carving pumpkins with us! :)

(our precious, joyful Olivia!)

(Daddy and Austin working on his little pumpkin he picked out!)

We also got to go to the pumpkin patch with the Carrolls again this year!  We try to make that a tradition!  Here are the kiddos at the growth chart there:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Next Steps!

We are so thankful for all of the love and support of everyone on our journey to bring home our little girl!  So many people are asking what comes next, so I thought I would pass along the next steps to you here.

In Ethiopia, they are translating our documents and information and combining it with the information of our little girl to make one file. It will be submitted it to the courts to get a court date.  The courts have been closed for the last two months because of rainy season.  They close every year for August and September.  They just reopened TODAY!!!  We are hoping to hear about our scheduled court date SOON! :)

After we pass court, we will be submitted to the US Embassy.  Our Embassy appointment is the final step.  We will take one trip for about a week for the court date, and then usually about 2 months later, we will return to Ethiopia for another week (Embassy).  On that trip, we can bring our little girl home.

We are hoping to travel sometime in December for our first trip (court), and then bring her home in February or March.  One thing that our social worker was very clear on was that this court/Embassy process is VERY unpredictable. You just never know what is going to happen with the court system, extra paperwork or research that they might require, etc.  We are praying for no bumps in the road!

So...prayer requests:


  • Our little girl's safety, health, and adjustment in a different place.  I can't even imagine the things that she is thinking/feeling right now.  I am sure she is so confused.  There will be so much that she has to grieve:  the loss of her family, friends, culture... all things known to her.  Please just pray that God will comfort her little heart as only He can!
  • Pray for our family to be prepared for this change...for wisdom for us in parenting each one of our kids and preparing their hearts for their little sister!  They are so excited!
  • Pray for us to pass court quickly and without any problems.
  • Finances!  We are hoping to hear back this week from a grant we applied for to help with all of the travel costs.  It is a matching grant, and we are going to have an art sale to raise money for it!  more to come on that later...


Thanks for praying for us!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

THE CALL!!!!!

The amazing call that changed everything!  Adoption can be compared to pregnancy in some different ways...everyone likes to joke that people are "paper pregnant" when they are working on their adoption paperwork.  Well, the night we got THE CALL!!!  can be compared to looking at our positive pregnancy test.  Everything changes.  But, you don't even know what will change!  You don't know what is in store, but you could not be more excited!  You just jump around the room in amazement!

September 21, 2011.  Just before 5:00 pm.  Brian came home a little early because he was wanting to spend time with us as he had to go back to work that night after the kids went to bed.

(sidenote:  Earlier that morning, I had emailed our case worker ("B") with our agency, AGCI, to see of we could extend our age parameters to 0-28 months so that we wouldn't have to redo our homestudy (again!!) as Eliana got older.  Our agency typically stays in birth order, and the adopted child must be 10 months younger than your youngest child...essentially, however a birth could happen "naturally" in your family is how they get their parameters.  They feel that all of the children adjust better that way. )


So, I was bathing the girls and Brian came upstairs and said "B" called on your phone.  Then she called on my phone.  She needs to talk to us tonight.  I was completely NOT thinking our referral...at first I didn't even know he was talking about our case worker!!  Then, he clarified..."B" from All God's Children...

Then, I knew!!!  I started crying and saying, "THIS IS IT!!!!  THIS IS IT!!!!  IT IS OUR REFERRAL!!!!!!"  Brian wasn't so sure.  He told me to not freak out, that she probably was just responding to my email.  I was insistent!  I said, " Brian!  She would NEVER call on YOUR phone for that!!  I know this is it!!!"  He said, " Well, call her!"

She picked up the phone right away and said that she got my email (I am calmly saying, "Oh, yes...good..." And then!  She said, "But I REALLY want to talk to you about a LITTLE GIRL!!!!"  Oh, melt my heart!  I couldn't wait to hear every detail!  We both got on the phone and she went through all of the details that she knew of.  We put on a movie for the kids to distract them, and we asked our case worker every question we could think of!  She really wanted us to talk through her age (she is 28 months), as she is older than they originally wanted our parameters to be, and get back with her the next day.

We already knew we wanted to move forward!  I think I asked Brian 500 times that night, "Oh my goodness, what are you feeling right now!?!"  We sat down to eat about 20 minutes after we got off the phone.  We wanted to all look at her pictures together as a family (Our case worker went over all of her info, but then she puts it all together on an email with her pictures and sends it when you get off the phone.  They know we wouldn't hear a word she was saying if we could stare at her beautiful pictures the whole time!).  The kids are so excited and they talk about her all the time.  This morning Olivia made up a song about how we are "going to the airport to pick up _(my little sister!)__" They pray for her all the time, showed their classes her picture, and we talk about what she is doing at whatever time of day it is!

So, we pull up that email with her pictures...oh, melt my heart...we look through the first few, and then there is one that looks like she is looking in our eyes, ready for us to bring her to her forever home!  I still think about that moment and tears just well up in my eyes.  Our daughter.  She is amazing, and I don't even know her yet.

There are so many "God details" in all of it...

  • her name and what it means and means to us (We can't share her name or her picture until she is legally ours...sorry!!  But if you see us, stop us and ask and we will show you in person!  We can't put anything on the internet, though.) 
  • the age parameters and that I had JUST asked for "up to 28 months" that morning. She is 28 months.  Our case worker said, " I just had to laugh when I read that email!" 
  • The fact that Brian is a twin and has  experience with twins and how to encourage and give them separate identities (Because of Eliana's age compared to our newest little girl, they call that "artificial twinning").  
  • A couple of weeks after we decided to move forward in pursuing adoption (2009), she was born!
  • some significant dates in her life and what we were doing at the time

Well, the next day we had planned to go to Nashville (just Brian and I) to go to a conference that ShowHope was doing with Dr. Karyn Purvis.  It was incredible.  I admire her so much, and I love all of her research, studies, books, videos, and conferences!  She has researched and speaks/teaches on parenting children who "come from hard places."  Another post for another day, but it is incredible information.

So, we headed off for what Brian refers to as "The Amazing Race," adoption edition in Nashville!  We had some time-sensitive phone calls to make and reports to write up on our daughter and her transition to our family.  The first part of the day, we were in and out of the conference taking phone calls and heading to office stores to print, fax, etc!  It was hilarious looking back!

It was a sweet time filled with so much excitement! We canNOT wait to meet our sweet girl! Just before I started writing this post, I looked back over a little bit of our adoption journey.  Trusting in God's perfect will and sovereignty, and sifting through all of the unknowns.  Assuming we would get a referral right away, and wondering why we didn't.  I know that God already knew this little girl would be a Crenshaw.  He has orchestrated every step of her life and ours.  Hard times and good times...He knew they would all happen.  Any other time we would have gotten a referral, it wouldn't be HER.  I can't wait to let all of you meet her!!

Since I can't show yall a picture of her, I will leave you with one from last week.  We went to the beach, and it was a sweet time to get away as a family (my parents got to come, too!), have fun, relax a bit after a crazy couple of weeks, and connect!  But, we missed her so much. So, I will leave you with this:


I will post all of the "next steps" and prayer requests soon!!