Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heading to Summit V!

Tomorrow morning we will be dropping Eli off at "gwamma's" house and then heading to catch our flight to Dallas to attend Summit V, sponsored by Christian Alliance for Orphans. We are really excited about the opportunity to attend this conference, and looking forward to learning more about what we can do to meet the needs of orphans both here in the U.S. and abroad. Besides that, we are just looking forward to getting away for a few days, just the two of us! Spending some quality time together and having a chance to just relax for a few days will be very welcome, especially after a very busy month! Please pray for safe travels, and that God would use this time to speak to our hearts and teach us more about His heart for orphans around the world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dossier in Ethiopia! And More Waiting!

We received an email today informing us that our dossier arrived in Ethiopia last Friday (4/24)!! Prior to that, it traveled to the US State Department for authentication, and then to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. for further authentication. Now that it has arrived in Ethiopia, the Holt representative over there will translate it and ensure that all documents are prepared for court. Although we still have no idea who our child is, we are so excited to reach every milestone and just know that the paperwork side of things is in order and ready to go!

Many people ask what our next step is, and the answer is WAITING :) We are on the list to be matched with a child, and many factors can affect when that occurs. Our agency says to expect a 6-9 month wait for a referral from the time our dossier was submitted, so that would put us receiving a referral sometime between September - December. We have seen some families' timelines move quicker than that, so I'm secretly hoping we'll get a referral this summer, but trying not to get my hopes up to much. After we accept our referral, the Holt staff in Ethiopia begins the process of submitting our paperwork through the court system. We would probably wait about 3 months until our court date. If we pass the first time, we would likely travel to Ethiopia to pick up our child about 2-6 weeks after that. It's not uncommon to not pass court the first time though, so the wait before we travel could be even longer.

Everyone who knows me, knows I am a planner. Sometimes it's hard to just wait for things to happen, and really have no idea how it will all play out as far as the timing of everything. But, it's definitely a time of growth for us, and a time where God wants us to really just trust that He knows what will happen, and His timing is perfect. I feel good about that, and secure in knowing His plans will ultimately prevail in all situations pertaining to our adoption.

We are just so privileged to have this opportunity to adopt, and know our lives will be incredibly blessed. Many people comment that the child we are adopting will be so lucky to join our family, but we actually feel that WE are the lucky ones! Just as a biological child brings great joy to the family he or she is born into, the same is true of an adopted child. Us as parents are just the privileged recipients of the extrodinary gifts we call "our children!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Movin' On Up

Our "official" number as of today!! Yippee!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I-171H Arrived Today!!

Yeah! Today I was so excited to open the mailbox and find our I-171H! For those of you who have never adopted internationally, that probably means nothing to you :) But for those who have, or are in the process, you know this is a very important step. Basically, this "approval" letter is given to us by Immigration (per the application we submitted back in January, and fingerprints we had done in February), allows us to bring an orphan into the United States on a Visa. Immigration actually forwards our "approval" letter to the embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia so that everything is in order for our court date and eventual travel to pick up our child. Tomorrow I will be sending a copy of this form to Holt, so they can add it to the dossier. I was surprised this approval arrived so quickly after our home study was submitted, but I guess since we applied earlyand had our fingerprints taken in advance, they had things ready to go! Nice!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We're GOING!! Are YOU?

We are so grateful for the opportunity to attend Summit V in a couple of weeks. We had actually decided not go, but couldn't shake that nagging feeling that we were supposed to be there. So... we found a great deal on plane tickets, registered for the conference, "reserved" a room for Eli at grandma's house, and we'll be on our way in less than 3 weeks!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lucky #25!

Today we found out that we are officially #25 on our agency's waiting list for families adopting from Ethiopia. The average wait time to receive a referral for a child is approximately 6-9 months, then a court date would be given about 3 months after that, and then travel would occur 1-2 months after passing court. So, if our process follows all of the "average" time frames, we would end up traveling around this time next year. There are so many things, however, that can impact how slow or fast the process moves, so as much as we try to predict things, it's really very unpredictable. A great example of this would be our "cyberspace friends" Heather and Brian, who received a referral today after just four months of waiting! Congrats you guys, we are so happy for you! So needless to say, at this point we will begin working on getting our passports and travel immunizations (fun, fun) so that we are ready to go when our time comes. Hooray for making it another step closer!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Can We Make A Difference?

Micah and I just read this inspiring book:

I encourage everyone to read it. To read a few quotes and her more of my thoughts regarding the book's subject, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Journey of the Dossier

A little story of my morning...

I started out bright and early driving to Scottsdale to pick up our home study from our local agency, Dillon Southwest. They had everything ready to go so it was a quick stop!

My adventure continued as I headed to downtown Phoenix to visit the Secretary of State's office to "authenticate" the home study and power of attorney documents. This involved attaching a gold seal and red stamped seal to both documents.

The final stop was a few blocks away at the nearest FedEx Kinko's I could find, where I made copies of each piece of our dossier, checked everything about 20 times, and put them in the envelope for shipping. So much work goes into this dossier that it was actually tempting to think I would take road-trip to Oregon this weekend and hand deliver the documents :) It was so scary (but also a relief) to let them go!!
Just "some" of the paperwork that went into our dossier... birth certs, marriage cert, employer letters, medical certs, letters of recommendation, financial/tax statements, power of attorney, letter to the Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA), passport photos, and more!

I then chartered a private jet so I could take this picture of our documents flying to Oregon. (April Fools! Just had to get one in there :)) Truthfully though, this is hopefully where our documents are now... in the air somewhere between Phoenix, AZ and Eugene, OR. They should arrive to Holt International tomorrow morning. Hooray!!