Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Friday December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!! We had a wonderful holiday of eating and spending time with family and more eating. There always seems to be an overabundance of food at the holdiay season. Mark and my dad got Ethiopian coffee as a christmas present that I ordered off We made it at 6 in the morning as we were opening presents. It smelled really good, it was a little strong for me but everyone else really like it. For those of you who don't know coffee originated in Ethiopia. You can actually buy the coffee beans from this website and when you get them you have to roast them and grind them before you can make coffee. I can't wait to try some while we are actually in the country.

Today we are officially 3 months waiting to receive a referral for our baby boy. As the holidays came and passed (well almost, one more party tomorrow), the presents are unwrapped and put away and the food is almost all gone we realize how blessed we are to have such wonderful family and friends to support us through this adoption process. The holidays were harder this year as we don't have a referral or a timeframe has to when we will but we know that it will happen in God's time. There is a beautiful baby boy he has picked out to join our Forever Family and we can't wait to bring him home. We don't even know who this child is but we already love him so much!

As we start this new year please pray with us that things will start to move a little quicker for the process. There are many changes being made within America World and the program to make it more efficient and better. A new transition home has been purchased in Ethiopia that is bigger and will hold more kids, a physician and a nurse has also been hired to work at this new home. Please pray for the paperwork mountains to move through the proper channels and for families to pass court and also for the babies and kids themselves as a lot of them come into the transition home malnurished and extremely underweight. We look forward to an exciting new year on this journey to bring our baby home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas by Third Day

This song Merry Christmas by Third Day was posted on our Yahoo Group we belong to. This song is about a little girl that is waiting to come home to her family. It is such a sweet song that describes how anyone waiting for a referral, waiting for a court date, or waiting for the time to travel to pick up their child during this holiday season feels. I definitely speaks to the feelings in my heart as we await a referral this holiday season. We pray for all the children that are waiting to come home this holiday season. I hope you enjoy this song as much as we do.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Waiting Expectantly

Friday December 5, 2008

We got news this week 7 families have passed court in Ethiopia and will travel before Christmas and will spend Christmas with thier children! How awesome is that. We are praying for referrals for this month, courts are back open and families are travelling, let the referrals roll in. It might sound strange that I am so excited for people that we don't even know passing court and getting referrals. We get excited because children are getting to go to their forever families and feel loved and cared for (plus it moves us up in line to get our wonderful baby boy). It is so funny how you can love someone so much already and you don't know anything about them! But we do!

Anyway, someone posted this article on the yahoo group we belong to and I thought it was a great article and thought I would post it on our blog for all of you to read! Enjoy, keep praying for those referrals and successful court dates, our turn will come before we know it!

Waiting Expectantly
Margaret Manning

Waiting is never easy. In our day of high speed internet, instant messaging, and fast food, waiting for anything seems like an eternity. I remember the days as a child, when the season turned the corner towards Christmas day, how difficult it was for me and my siblings to wait to open our presents. We had such a hard time waiting that we would often coax our parents into allowing us to open some, or all of our presents on Christmas Eve. We couldn't wait any longer, and our parents couldn't abide another day of our whining and begging.

The season of Advent begins a season of waiting. It marks the beginning of the liturgical church year and asks us to wait expectantly for the coming of Christ, the King. Each new Advent season stirs our expectations as we wait. Will we see the return of the Lord in this Advent season? But, it also leads us to a time of
reflection concerning how we wait because waiting, by its very nature, is demanding and difficult for all of us. Like children clamoring to open their presents early because they cannot wait any longer, we often wait impatiently, rather than with expectant hope.

Waiting for God is difficult enough; but, waiting in the wilderness can make the most staid soul waver. The whole history of Israel is a history of waiting, waiting in the wilderness to enter the Promised Land, waiting for a king, waiting in exile for return to the land of Israel, and waiting for God to deliver them from all their
oppressors. The psalmists cry is their cry, and our cry: "How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?" (Psalm 89:46)

Imagine, then, how their hearts stirred with expectation when a glimmer of promise arose. We can feel the hope rise as the prophet Isaiah cries out: "Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low...Then the glory
of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together" (Isaiah 40:3-5). Yet, generations came and went and the years ebbed and flowed with no sign of the promised one. Israel went into exile, and the voice of the prophets became silent. Would there be a way in the wilderness, and a smooth path cut through the desert? Or would God leave his people as exiles in the wastelands?

For over two-thousand years, we have seen Advent season come and go, each year igniting our hopes and expectations for Christ's return. Unfortunately, as happens to so many, we lose hope and heart in waiting. We grow tired and weary, and we, like the false prophets of old ask, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:4). Our temptation in the exile of waiting is to lose hope, to grow weary and faint. Our temptation is to give up rather than hold on. Rather than fill us with expectation, waiting can dull our hope and desiccate our yearning for God. Yet the Advent season calls us back to watch and to wait in anxious expectation for the return of our Lord.

Indeed, those who wait upon the Lord "shall gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:31). May our Advent waiting fill us with hope, renew us with strength, and raise us up with hope in our coming King.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Tuesday December 2, 2008

We went to the Board of Health today to get our vaccinations started so when we get the call that it is time to go we are ready. We had to get 4 shots each plus I had to get a Tetnus shot on top of that. We are now vaccinated from Polio, Meningitis, Typhoid and we have started our series of 3 shots for Hepatitis A and B. This was a great start to a day for someone who is terrified of getting shots!!! Funny the things we do. Now all we need is that referral.

We have two months down waiting and are into our third month. These three months will go by quickly it is the next 4 to 6 months that I have a feeling will creep by!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Wednesday November 12, 2008

I just read an interesting article on the internet on the statistics of orphans in Ethiopia. Currently in Ethiopia alone there are 4 million orphans, that is approximately 12% of the children are orphans, most due to HIV/AIDS. It is predicted that by 2014 the number of children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS will be approximately 2.1 million compared to 568,000 in 2004.

When I read these statistics it saddened my heart. So many kids need loving and caring homes. I wish I could bring them all home. Since I can't I will just continue to pray for their safety, health and that they will be placed in a family that will love and care for them. Until that happens I know that God has his arms wrapped around them keeping them safe. Currently things are taking longer to process referrals and court dates for adoptions, there are so many kids that need loving and caring homes. We need to pray for God to keep them safe and to continue to move the mountains in the Ethiopia program through AWAA to bring these children home to their families. Most likely right now we if unless the changes that are being made within the program help to make the process quicker we won't be travelling until summer maybe even fall depending on when our referral comes in. Pray with us that we will be able to bring our baby home before then. It is all in God's plan and only he can move the mountains.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby's Room

Monday November 10,2008

Mark has finished the baby's room. It came out so cute. I went to a conference a week ago for the weekend and when I came home the room was done and the furniture was put together. Went this weekend and bought the bedding. I was so excited I couldn't wait to have a shower.

Monday, October 27, 2008

5 Year Anniversary

Monday October 27, 2008

We celebrated our 5th anniversary on Saturday October 25th. It is so hard to believe that it has been 5 years ago that we got married. We went to Gettysburg, PA for the weekend and visited my favorite place Boyd's Bear Country! We found the cutest, softest stuffed Elephant with long legs and floppy ears. It will go perfect in the babies room. Speaking of which, we have the room painted and the trim up. We are going to finish up this week with minor touch ups and get the furniture!

We are one month down on the waiting list only 4-6 more (at least). I joined an online chat group for Ethiopian adoptions through AWAA. It is so interesting to read everyones trials and victories. It makes us so excited to travel to meet the baby that God has created for us. We continue to pray for all the orphans in Ethiopia and for the birth mother of our son where ever she may be in this process only God knows.

I have found strength in the following verse during this last month waiting (which isn't my strong suit by any means):

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
-Isaiah 41:10

If you want to see some inspirational and exciting videos and pictures of Ethiopian adoptions or Ethiopia in general go to and do a search on "Ethiopian Adoption" You will be able to see other people who have already traveled to pick up their children and what their journey was like.

Continue to keep us in your prayers as we wait for that call with a referral of a baby boy! It is all in God's hands now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dossier to Ethiopia

Monday September 29, 2008

We recieved our confirmation email that our Dossier has been sent to Ethiopia as of Friday September 26th. Yeah! I just tracked the fedex package and it says that the package was delivered in Addis Ababa as of 3:21 (Ethiopian time) today. We are praying that the paperwork moves quickly through the system over there. As of right now the wait time is still 5-7 months from the date the Dossier was sent. Pray with us that it is sooner.

We went and put the furniture for the bedroom in layaway, it was on sale and I was worried that it would discontinue before we had the room ready for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Power of Attorney

Tuesday September 23, 2008

Well our power of attorney is offically certified and back at the agency. If all goes well our Dossier will be on it's way to Ethiopia by Friday. We are praying like crazy that the Dossier moves quickly once it is in Ethiopia. The wait time for a referral right now is approximately 5-7 months for an infant boy.

We have been working on the baby's room. So far it is painted and the closet door is painted. Now we have to put the trim back up, flip the closet door around so it opens normal and complete the closet. Once it is done I will put pictures up so everyone can see the room. We picked out the furniture and the crib set for the theme of the room. Next we get to plan a baby shower and register. We went to Children's Place the other day and couldn't help it, we bought about 7 shirts. One is so cute, it is a onesie that says "My Daddy Rocks". I was so excited when I saw that. I can't wait to bring him home. I pray that God gives me patience because I know it will happen in his time, but I more than anything pray that he gives Mark patience so that I don't drive him absolutely insane!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Power of Attorney

Friday September 12, 2008

Well our Power of Attorney papers came back on Wednesday needing certified. We had to go to the county courthouse and have them certify the notary and then send them to the Secretary of state to get Apostilled. It is on its way to Columbus and should be there today. Unfortunately, we most likely won't get that back until the middle of next week so we will not get it to the agency until the end of next week. All of this meaning our Dossier will most likely not go to Ethiopia until around the end of the month. It is kind of frustrating, thinking you are all done and then you get something back saying you need more stamps of approval. Originally when I had asked I thought the certification on the cover letter covered everything underneath, apparently that is not true. The good thing is this is really the only delay we have had so far in the paper trail. Hopefully this is the last delay and things are on their way.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dossier Received at America World

Friday August 29, 2008

I received the email today that the Dossier is in our representative from America World Adoption Agency's hands. It should be authenticated next week and then off to Ethiopia.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dossier Sent to America World

Wednesday August 27, 2008

We just went to the UPS store and made all our copies and sent out our Dossier (and misc stuff) to America World. Now we wait. I believe the process is now our representative will review the Dossier and give it a number on the referral waiting list, then she will take it to the Ethiopian Embassy and the Department of State to get it authenticated. The last step is it will get mailed out to Ethiopia! We are on our way. The packet should be in the agency's hands by tomorrow morning.

Now is the fun part, the waiting. Mark started working on the babies room so that will hopefully make the time go by fast. Once it is finished we will put pictures up.

One step closer to bringing our baby home! Keep us in your prayers, it could be a long 5-7 months waiting for that referral!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

USCIS Approval Received

Sunday August 17, 2008

We can home from a wedding today and guess what was waiting. Our I171-H form from USCIS stating that we have been approved to bring a child into the United States. We were waiting on that form and didn't expect to see it this soon. Now our next step is to send everything off to the Secretary of State to be Apostilled (certified) and then we send it all to America World for translation and off to Ethiopia. Before we know it we will be getting the call to travel to Ethiopia to pick up our son. It is kind of funny because on our way to Mount Vernon for the wedding Saturday morning I told Mark maybe our USCIS form will come today and we can move on to the next step. We both kind of laughed and didn't think twice about it until we came home and there it was. Funny how God works, ask and you shall receive.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Agency Approved Home Study

Friday Aug 1, 2008

We received an email from our consultant at American World that she approved our home study yesterday. The next step is to wait for USCIS to approve our application, the home study is the last piece we have to get that approval and it will be sent to USCIS on Monday or Tuesday next week. We are getting closer to submitting the Dossier. I just read on the America World's blog that the referral time based on referrals recieved in July is 5-7 months for an infant boy from the time we submit the Dossier. Please continue to pray with us that the process continues this path of smooth and quick transitions. I will keep the blog updated as we continue to receive more news.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

USCIS Fingerprinting

Thursday July 31, 2008

We went yesterday up to the Federal Building in Cleveland for our fingerprints for the process with Immigration. It didn't take very long at all. Our homestudy is complete and submitted to the agency for review. Once they put their ok it will be sent up to USCIS and that is the last piece before we get our approval from USCIS. We are getting closer. Meanwhile we continue to work on the room and make plans for the baby to come. We ordered children's books from for the baby, well for when he is a little bit older. One is called "The Perfect Orange - A Tale from Ethiopia" and the other is an Ethiopian Folk Tale called "Fire on the Mountain". The day we received them in the mail I read them to see what they were like. I would highly recommend these two books. The give a little insight into the culture and what names different things are given in Ethiopia. We also ordered a children's books on adoption and on how not everyone looks the same but we are all wonderful. One of them is a Sesame Street book "We are Different, We are the Same, We are wonderful" and the other is a book called "Over the Moon". Over the Moon isa great book on the adoption process, short, colorful and describes in child terms what happens.

Monday, July 21, 2008

4th Home Study

Monday July 21, 2008

Our last home study visit is scheduled for tomorrow July 22nd. We are traveling to upper Sandusky again. Once this meeting is over and the home study is written we will submit it to United States Immigration Services for review. It is then a waiting game until they approve and we will be ready to submit to Ethiopia.

We also got today our appointments for fingerprinting (the FBI fingerprinting) for next Wednesday July 30 in Cleveland.

The babies room has been started. It is turning out to be more of a project than we thought. There was panelling half way up the wall the whole way around the room, which I didn't like. We originally thought that we could just peel it off. Turns out there needs to be some drywall work in there. Another project, that will be way worth it when we paint and can buy the furniture. The furniture is already picked out we are just waiting for the right time to buy it so it isn't piled in another room waiting.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Monday July 7, 2008

We received a gift for the baby over the weekend from my aunt I thought I would share with everyone. It is a framed poem, really cute, for the baby's room. I loved the poem and so far had not seen anything like this. The poem is as follows:

The Chosen Heart

Longing for a child to love,
I'd wish upon the stars above.
In my hear I always knew,
A part of me was meant for you.

I think how happy we will be,
Once I adopt you and you adopt me.

I dream of all the joy you'll bring,
Imagining even the littlest things.
The way it will feel to hold you tight,
And tuck you in every night.

The drawings on the refrigerator door,
And childhood toys across the floor.
The favorite stories read again and again,
And hours of games with make-believe friends.

The day you took my outstretched hand,
A journey ended, but our lives began.
Still mesmerized by your sweet face,
Still warmed inside by our first embrace.

I promised to give you a happy home,
And a loving family all your own.
A house you've now made complete,
With laughter, smiles and tiny feet.

A parent is one who guides the way,
Know I will be there everyday.
Rest easy as each night you sleep,
A lifetime of love is yours to keep.

Longing for a child to love,
I'd wish upon the stars above.
In my heart I always knew,
A part of me belonged to you.

I love this poem and it will hang on the wall in the baby's room, just another reminder of how special he is and how loved he will be.

We have submitted all the paperwork for the homestudy, now we have to wait for it to come back to review. The next step will be to submit the completed home study to USCIS (immigration) and wait for that approval to come back then we can submit the completed dossier for review and then it is off to Ethiopia and we wait. Keep checking back i will keep updating as we get news.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Homes Study Visits 2 & 3

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Yesterday we had our 2nd home study visit. Our social worker came to our home and we talked about our childhood, education, marriage values, etc. for about an hour and a half. She did a safety inspection of our home and our visit was over. It was nice to sit and talk about how we plan to incorporate our child's culture into his life after adopting and returning home. It was something we had thought about but never sat down and talked about.

Today we had our 3rd home study visit. The social worker came and met with us individually for our interviews. It only took about an hour for each of us and was basically each of us having a conversation.

We both have applied for our passports, they said it would be about 3-5 weeks. I also mailed in our USCIS (immigration) paperwork today so we can get our FBI fingerprinting scheduled and all we will be waiting on is a completed homestudy to get our approval from immigration.

On another note, we started moving rooms around at the house to start getting ready for the baby. I know it is a ways away yet until we bring him home but we want to have everything ready to go when we get the call. We picked out the furniture for the room, the crib and dresser. So once we get the rooms switched around we will paint and finish the closet and then order the furniture. I can't wait!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Children's Services Letters Received

Monday June 23, 2008

Our child abuse clearance letters came over the weekend. We officially have all our documentation for our home study completed on our end. We are waiting to hear if my fingerprint results have come back yet. Mark's came back the week after we had them done but we were still waiting on mine.

We received an email update from the agency, they have formed another partnership with an orphanage in Ethiopia. They now have connections with 3 orphanages. This is good news. On the flip side they also stated in their email that once you have accepted a referral your invitation to travel is most likely going to take approximately 8 - 12 weeks after referral acceptance. At this time the court process will take place. We need to get through this home study first and wait for our immigration paperwork to come back before we submit to Ethiopia. Hopefully that won't take to long, we keep praying for things to move quickly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fire Inspection

Wednesday June 11, 2008

The fire chief came last night to do our fire inspection. He is coming back out tonight to give us our certificate and to make sure the smoke alarms are up and the plug covers are in. I didn't know our house had so many plugs in it until I started putting covers on the ones that weren't used. One more thing down on the list. We also got our local background check letters from the police department. We are moving right along.
I started the online training, it is a lot of information and mostly the worst case scenerio. I went through 2 of the 7 modules on Monday night and had to stop because the information was starting to bring on an anxiety attack. All the training is about giving you the information on what could happen, hopefully it doesn't happen. But I guess that is what training is all about giving you all the information even if it is a bit scary.
Our next home study visit has been scheduled for June 30. This one she will come to us and visit in our home for about 2 hours. We went ahead and scheduled the third visit for July 1 too. That visit she will come back to our home and do individual interviews, talk about stressful. This is where all the weird questions will come into play to see how each of you answer (i.e. your relationship in high school, tell me what happened and why you broke up).
We were suppose to have our physicals yesterday but Mark had to cancel because work is so busy and the doctors office rescheduled mine for June 17th.
I also completed my autobiography. I forgot how hard it was to write about yourself when you know people are going to form an opinion of you from what you write.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fingerprinting Done

Friday June 6, 2008

We went yesterday for our State Background check and Fingerprinting. It took longer to drive there than it did to actually complete the process. Now we wait for those results to come back and on to the next thing.

We also sent in the majority of the paperwork we had to send in for the next homestudy visit to be scheduled. The social worker sounded a little surprised that we had so much done. It is not hard paperwork, it is more gathering information and making copies. The hard stuff is the autobiographies, it shouldn't be hard to write about yourself but for some reason it is. Our goal is to have that done this weekend. We are also waiting for a call back from the fire department to come and do a fire inspection of the house.

Still no names yet. We just can't find a name that we both really like. When we think we have one then another name comes up and we are back to square one. Good thing we have a little time for that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Home Study Orientation

Wednesday June 4, 2008

Well we traveled to Upper Sandusky for our Home Study orientation yesterday. Another packet of information and more paperwork. We already started on the paperwork and gathering copies of information as soon as we got home. We have a reading list of 5 books we have to read. We got two of them from the Library but are most likely going to just buy them to have them. Our next home study visit will be scheduled when they have approximately 90% of the paperwork. I think I have 75% in the envelope ready to mail back already. So we are doing good - on a mission to bring that baby home.

We have scheduled our State background check and fingerprinting for June 5th and our physicals for June 10th. More paperwork out of they way. The good thing is a lot of the paperwork we have to do for the homestudy is the same for the Dossier so we can kill two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1st Home Study Appt Set

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Our first appointment is set for Tuesday June 3rd to meet with the social worker. We will get our next packet of information on what the home study is going to entail. We went this weekend and got our Passport pictures taken and our birth certificates are ordered. Once we get the certified birth certificates we can go ahead and apply for our passports.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dossier Guidelines Received

Friday May 23, 2008

We received our Dossier Guidelines yesterday. I do have to say after reading over the packet I am officially overwhelmed with information. The next few months are going to be a blur of paperwork and appointments. We have started gathering some. I ordered birth certificates today, next week we will apply for passports, this weekend we will get our passport picture taken and in two weeks we should meet for our first visit with the social worker. Please keep us in your prayers as we start to gather the paperwork necessary to complete this process (it is enough to drive a person insane - or for me to drive Mark insane with my OCD).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Family Coordinator Assigned

Tuesday May 20, 2008

We got a call yesterday, our family coordinator has been assigned and our Dossier paperwork is on its way. We should receive that information this week sometime. Now we just have to wait for the social worker to contact us to schedule the start of our home study. Things are moving pretty quick so far. We keep praying that the momentum keeps up and we will bring our baby home before we know it. In the meantime we just keep plugging along on the paperwork and have started picking out names (although we have not agreed on one yet - good thing we have a little time on that one). Check back I will keep everyone updated. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Contracts Signed

Tuesday May 13, 2008

The contracts are signed and the first payment is in the mail. The next step our Family Coordinator will be assigned and a home study scheduled. We are on our way. Hopefully the next steps move as quickly as the first few have so far.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

1st Round Paperwork

Thursday May 8, 2008

We recieved our first packet of paperwork today. It kind of makes this all seem like it is really happening. It has really seemed like a dream for the last week. Now we have lots of papers to read (lots of fine print) and sign. Once we send back our contract signed with the first payment we will be assigned a family coordinator and our homestudy will be scheduled. Hopefully all our paperwork goes smoothly and quickly and our little baby boy will be home with us before we know it! Sounds funny to say "our little baby boy". I still can't believe we will be parents within 1 year. I have been thanking God everyday for this wonderful blessing!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Agency Approval

Friday May 2, 2008

We got the call today we are approved to adopt a baby boy from Ethiopia!!! YEA!!!! God is finally answering all our prayers. The wave of emotions we just went through with that one phone call is indescribable. I am going to be a mom and Mark is going to be a dad. We have waited so long to hear that. Now it is on to the "paper pregnancy".

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Application Started

Friday April 25, 2008

We just sent in our application for America World Adoption for a little boy from Ethiopia. This is so exciting. We have been trying to have kids for so long with no luck and now within a year we will have our very own little boy. God has truly blessed us to put us on this path. Now we just have to wait for the approval from the agency to start the next process.