Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I am INCREDIBLY thankful to post that we were SUBMITTED TO THE EMBASSY!!!!!!! One step closer to our little girl, and this is the LAST part of the wait!!!  We are so thankful to the Lord.  It was a long road!

Our precious case worker called and I was very guarded when I saw her name...I thought it could be another "medical update..." they always notify us if she is on any kind of medicine, even if it is just for a cold or ear infection, etc.  Anyway, she said she had good news and it was a good thing that I was pulling into my driveway b/c I wouldn't have been able to see the road through my thankful tears!

She said that this part of the wait would be the hardest...I am not too sure about that!  I could be VERY wrong and I will let you know, but waiting 7 weeks to get submitted has been pretty tough.  I am sure that a lot of it was based off of assuming it would look like other files and we would be submitted after 2-3 weeks.  Those last 4 weeks of thinking "it could be the week" made for an emotional roller coaster.

Anyway...what does this mean??

Well, every child has to be cleared by the Embassy to get a VISA to come to the US.  They have our file and will be reviewing it soon.  This used to be a quicker process, but they are really digging deep into each case to ensure that there is not anything unethical going on.  So, they will ask for different interviews and then compare that information to the information that is on our file.  If it all matches up and they don't question anything, they will clear us to come and get her.  They do have the right to send our file to Nairobi for more investigation.  I pray that does not happen.

Many are asking about the timeline from here:
-our file was submitted yesterday...Jan. 23.
-The Embassy usually notifies us that they have received it about 2 weeks later and soon after says what interviews they will request.
-The interviews have been taking place about 2 weeks after the request.
-If all goes well, they will clear our case a few days after the interview (after they review it again)
-Usually at this point, families are hopping on a plane a few days after they are cleared!

So, this could still be a long process...anywhere from 3-7 weeks, I am guessing??  Maybe longer if the file is sent to Nairobi. I am praying that it is closer to the 3 week mark!

I am VERY thankful to be in this last step!!!!!  Praising God for His love and peace in the wait, and asking Him to bring her home quickly!

We went out for Mexican to celebrate, of course!!!

Speaking of celebrating with Mexican food, we did that last week, too...when our precious son and sweet niece got baptized!! It was very, very special!!!!  Such an incredible night!  The two of them were so excited to "show everyone that they were Christians!"  My amazing husband baptized Austin and it was so very special.  He read a letter from us that encouraged him and challenged him in his faith, asked him some questions about his faith, and baptized him.  My brother also got to talk about Emily and encourage/challenge her and baptize her!  Oh my goodness, it was a memorable night, and I am so thankful for how they have learned and grown and made a commitment to Jesus.  I can't wait to see what God does in their  lives.

Here is a picture!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ups and Downs

This has been a really sweet week.

It started off pretty rough.  I started this "crazy cycle" where I would get progressively more excited towards the end of the weekend because I knew that Monday was coming.  Monday is the day that AGCI (our adoption agency) can submit files to the Embassy.  It has been six weeks, and our file hasn't been submitted.  Most are submitted after 2-3 weeks, so I thought for sure it was coming...every week.  Then, Monday would come.  And I wouldn't get the phone call that I wanted to get, and I was completely discouraged and defeated.  I just wanted our little girl home.

Last week was no different, although, we did get a phone call.  Just not the one I wanted.  My phone showed our case worker's name and I was SO excited!!!  But, she was just calling to talk about our fingerprints.  Total let down.  Sweet her, she has been so compassionate and "with us" every step of the way!  I think she will be almost as excited as we are when we get submitted!

So, the night I talked to her I was really discouraged, wondering when we would get to bring our little girl home.  It seems like so long ago that we were there, and then the highs and lows of the week were all-comsuming.

I prayed.  I was so tired of feeling that way.   My perspective was affecting so many other people.   It is so easy in this process to focus on the hard things.  The pain of the fallen world and fallen system and fallen people.  The wait.  The emotional ups and downs and the people that you bring with you on that roller coaster.  I am so thankful... God so graciously changed my perspective.

I had conveniently forgotten all of the incredible things...God's faithfulness to provide for us.  Him allowing us to receive a beautiful little girl into our family.  A redemptive story through the pain of loss. An incredibly loving transitional home for her.  Food and clothes and everything that she needs right now.  A bath for her every night.  Sweet women who love her.  Her brother and sisters here who ask about her and pray for her every day.  An adoption agency who walks us through all of the questions.  Resources in our community.  Families who are willing to "live life" with us.  Extended family and countless friends who love our little girl and have never even met her.  God's Word.  His Holy Spirit. Even little things like an extra spot in a room to put growing "packing" piles in.  Sweet conversations with our children already at home.  A finished room waiting for a little girl to be there.

I decided I didn't need to put myself on a roller coaster anymore.  She is being loved so much where she is, and I am thankful for that.  We are SO READY for her to be home, yes.  FOR SURE!  But God has shown me so much in this journey, and it surely isn't about me and my emotions.  I know there will be hard days, but I don't want to forget why we started down this beautiful and hard path of adoption in the first place.  We felt led by the Lord.  And we continue to.  He is faithful.  As hard as it is, I give up all control and rest in His beautiful plan.

That being said, it is 8 am in Ethiopia right now.  I am guessing the Embassy is opening soon.  I am hoping our agency can submit files today since they were closed yesterday.  I am praying that "N's" paperwork is all in order and will be submitted.  And, I am really really thankful for the peace that God has given me.

Here are a couple of pictures of her room:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Last day in Ethiopia...

I haven't really had the heart to write this post, but I figured that I need to document all that I can, so here goes!

We got up and packed everything...big fat sadface :(...

We got to go see our little girl for a couple of hours in the morning.  That day she loved those little things that you scratch off the black part and there is color underneath...you know what I am talking about?  I have no idea what they are called!  She also liked blocks and coloring.  She started getting protective over the things that we brought for her (and all of the other kids!) to play with.  Even if she didn't want to play with them, she didn't want other kids having them!

We made matching bracelets which someone recommended to help make connections that she is a part of our family.  Brian and I both had one on, and we showed her that we had ones that were just alike.  We put hers on her and showed her that they were all the same.  We kept saying "Mommy's and Daddy's and ____(N)____'s," to try to make the connection.  She liked them.  I still have mine on, and the other kiddos will have one, too, when she comes home.

She had a GREAT time painting fingernails, too!  She loves the doll that we brought for her, and she even painted the doll's nails!  Ha!  Olivia keeps saying, "Mom, did "N" REALLY paint these nails in Ethiopia!?!"

We made a photo album to leave with her with all of our pictures in it.  It was really neat, because it had 5 different buttons you could push (one for each page), so we each got to leave her a "message" that corresponded to our picture.  One of the pictures I put in there had a picture of our whole family, and we were holding a big picture of her.  We wanted her to connect that she is a part of our family and that the kids in the album are her brother and sisters.


Then, back to the hotel for lunch and back for our final afternoon with our little girl.  It was tough.  She  had just gotten some shots, so she weren't feeling so hot, but we had a pretty good afternoon anyway!  She looked at her album some more and seemed really interested in it.  We pointed to everyone and said their name and played what they said to her.  She sat on Daddy's lap for a long time and even let me hold her for a few minutes!  That was the only time all week! :)  (it's the little things!!!!)

When someone came in to tell us that it was time to go, she was not happy at the moment (from something else that happened, but I can't remember!), so she didn't get into telling us good-bye.  It was sad for me, and the bus ride home with all the other families (who had also just said good-bye to their little ones) was silent.  I wish we had more time.  But, I was glad that she wasn't torn up about saying good-bye to us. She is SO happy there and I am VERY thankful she is so connected to the special mommies and so very loved where she is.    I had envisioned it being HORRIBLE to leave her...that she would be devastated...and it just was not like that.  I am so glad because the thing that I was most torn up about is all of the pain and loss she has suffered in her little life...I didn't know how she would know that we are COMING BACK.  I just thought that she would think we were leaving her, too.  So, it was sad for me, but I am so glad that it wasn't sad for her.  We just left like we did every other day we were there.


The flight home...I felt like my heart was literally ripped in two and part of it was in the US with the other kids and part of it was in Ethiopia with "N."  It was terrible.  Still is.  We miss her so much.  Trusting in God's timing.  Trusting in His provision.  Trusting that He is taking care of her and us.  Begging Him to be supernaturally knitting her heart to ours in our time apart.

I can't wait to be back on a plane headed to bring her to her forever home.

Here are some pictures of some people who have been so influential in "N's" life:

This is "T."  I NEVER learned how to pronounce her name correctly, so she said I could just call her "T."  She is wonderful!  She was the expert on our little girl's file/history, and she was SO HELPFUL!!!

This is Was.  Everyone LOVES Was!  He is our driver, speaks English really well, knows a lot about everything going on, and he is all the kids FAVORITE playmate!!

And...this is the amazing and famous Almaz.  OHHH, Almaz!!!!!  I heard incredible things about her and couldn't wait to meet her and she truly is so amazing.  She loves these children and advocates for them SO well!  She is from Ethiopia, but was in the states for many years and felt the Lord leading her back to Ethiopia.  She followed Him, and He has done amazing things through her!  I am so thankful for this woman!