Thursday, May 23, 2013


Praise the Lord! Today we were submitted to Embassy. We are so excited to finally reach that next step. From this point we are hoping she will be home in the next 3 weeks or so. Embassy is actually closed tomorrow and Monday for Memorial Day. Then they are not doing interviews until next Thursday. We are pretty sure that means we will wait at least until June 3 to leave. The up side to that is that Dan's brother is getting married on June 1 so we won't miss the wedding. The down side is Amelia won't be at the wedding.

So now we just wait to be cleared. Once we are cleared we will get an interview date and go get our girl!

If you'd like to pray with us here are a few specifics:
1. Pray for a quick and smooth Embassy process
2. Pray for Amelia as she is waiting to come home and has a huge transition ahead.
3. Please pray for finances to come together. Airfare has skyrocketed, and because Amelia is now older than two we have to purchase a ticket for her as well. We know God will take care of it, but this is more than we had prepared for. Please pray that this will not be an issue and all the financial needs will be met.
4. Please pray for our family as we prepare to travel and adjust to a new member of our clan.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. We are so excited to bring home our daughter. God is good.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What happens in Ethiopia stays in Ethiopia

Last week we got a phone call from K (the girl at our agency who is handling our case at this point). It seems that the Embassy has had a stash of tests, and finally they are willing to share. So Amelia was going to get a skin test on Friday. But as is the way our adoption has gone on Friday the clerk wasn't in the clinic. Almost funny at this point...almost.

We were supposed to hear today if they were able to give her the skin test. We got a call this afternoon that they still don't know if she was given the skin test. I am hoping that she did, but sometimes what happens in Ethiopia stays in Ethiopia. As long as all goes according to plan we should be submitted on Thursday to Embassy. Once we are submitted we have no idea how long the wait will be, but it is another step. It could be very fast, but it could take several weeks. We are praying it will be quick though. This momma is so ready for to have her home.
This is how we think Amelia feels about having to wait so long to come home. :)

Not my will...

I love to sing worship songs. It is my favorite part of gathering as the body of Christ. It is beautiful to see God's children all singing out his praises. To me it is a simple glimpse of Heaven. We went to our church service Saturday evening. As I sang along to the songs I was overwhelmed.

We sang songs about what Christ did on the cross for us. When I think about the cross I am flooded with emotion. Joy because of what it means for me. Because of the cross I am forgiven, loved, and adopted. But also gratitude because of what it meant for Jesus. He endured the most horrendous death so I don't have to. The magnitude of that is beyond my comprehension. The longer I am a follower of Jesus the more the beauty of the cross sinks in. The truth that God's only son came to earth to show us how to live, and then died so we can live eternally. That never ever gets old.

The last song we sang is one I really love. However, one of the lines says "Here we stand our hearts are yours not our will but yours be done." It is repeated several times. The impact of that line is so much harder right now than it has ever been. I am so ready for my girl to just be home. I don't understand the hold ups and the errors that are keeping her from our family. I don't understand the timing of all of this. But I do believe God is sovereign. I do believe He has already given me more than I deserve. I do believe He has a good plan for our family.

If I truly believe in what Christ's sacrifice on the cross means to me then I must  let go of my own control. I have to be willing to say "not my will, but yours be done", and really mean it or I am putting my will above Christ's grace on the cross in my life. The hard reality is that even if Amelia never comes home (which we believe she will soon), God has already shown me so much more grace than I could imagine or could ever deserve. I am thankful to be his child. Even when I don't understand his timing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day. It really feels like most Sundays in May. We went to church this morning. We came home and had leftovers. Dan was sweet to heat things up and hand them out to the boys. He cleaned up so I could catch up on the latest Grey's Anatomy on Hulu. The boys are resting and Dan is at soccer. So I have a quiet minute.

I have had eight Mother's Days as a mom now. I realized that this is the fourth Mother's Day that we have been waiting for Amelia. Half of my mothering career has been spent waiting for one of my children to come home.

This week we found out about yet another possible hold up. Because of an error on our daughter's passport we were delayed. The delay caused us to not be submitted before her birthday. All children two and over have to be tested for TB. It is just the way our story seems to go that when they went to the clinic to get her TB test done they are out of the shot. They have no idea how long it will take to get more of them in. Our agency is requesting that the Embassy will accept a chest Xray. If we hear back we may be submitted to the Embassy on Wednesday. Otherwise we have no time frame. If it wasn't awful it would be almost funny. We seem to have issues with each step. The agency said they have never seen this happen before. We are praying that this is over soon. We are pleading with God to bring out daughter home. Only He can. And His word says He will.

I'm so thankful to be a mom. It is the best job in the world. My boys make me laugh every day. I love that I get to wake to their sweet faces and be with them all day. I love watching them grow, teaching them, and taking care of them. I love hearing all their thoughts, stories, and jokes. When they laugh it melts my heart. They are precious gifts. But all of that doesn't take away how much I long for their sister to be here too. I want to rock her to sleep at night. I want to dress her up. I want to kiss her boo boos when she falls down. I want to have tea parties and buy pink soccer cleats. I want to teach her to sing her ABCs, and count to 10, and build puzzles. I want to teach her that Jesus loves her. I want her to know how much we yearn to have her here.

I am excited for next year. I am so looking forward to having all my kids together. I can't wait to snuggle all four of them together. I know God is good and He will bring this adoption to completion. I know we will have her home soon. Please keep praying with us that we are able to hold her here in our arms soon. We are so thankful for all who are praying with us.

Friday, May 3, 2013

We have been keeping super busy around here. Partially on purpose. Trying hard to keep our minds off of missing our girl. Partially because it is Spring and we are enjoying all the fun of the nice weather. So, you ask, when are we going to pick up our sweet girl? That is an excellent question. To which I reply we have no clue. :)

We are waiting for all of her paperwork to be ready so that we can be submitted to Embassy. There was a mistake made on her passport so they had to send it back to be fixed. We just laughed because that only makes sense for our case. So we are praying we will be submitted on Wednesday. Once we are submitted we will then wait about 2-4 weeks to travel to go pick her up. Please join us in praying that all the paperwork will be ready so we can be submitted next week and move closer to getting our daughter home.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Love Her

I was hoping to blog about our trip while we were there, but with limited internet connection and a very busy schedule our time was somewhat limited. So here is a quick run through of our time in Ethiopia.

We boarded our plane a few minutes after 10 on Thursday. I had never been on this long a flight. The seats were tight. We settled into our spots for the next 14 hours. We got off the plane early Friday morning Ethiopia time. We stood in line for visas, exchanged some money, got our bags and made it through customs. We followed the instructions given to us on where to wait for our guide. We were early so we waited about 45 minutes. I was getting a little nervous because we had no cell phones and no real way to contact anyone. Eventually, we were found. We hopped in a van and headed to the guest house we'd be staying at.

We checked in and got our 250lbs in luggage to our room on the fifth floor. The climb up all those stairs was extra fun with the altitude. Our room was great. It was bigger than my first apartment. It had a great view of the city as well. We quickly changed and freshened up. Then it was time to head over to the transition home to meet our daughter!

The van ride over was full of anticipation. We were so excited and maybe a little nervous. As soon as we got there our guide went in and brought her out to meet us. Our sweet girl was confused and scared. She was brave and kept from crying as these strange people kissed her and hugged her and spoke a language to her she didn't know.
We brought few small things to play with her the first day. She slowly relaxed and let us read to her and snuggle her. She was still very hesitant of us.

The next morning we went and explored Entoto mountain. We got to check out some of the oldest churches in Ethiopia. It was very cool to experience some of the history of our little girl's birth country. The view was amazing. The country side is gorgeous.

After lunch we got to go back to spend some time with our girl. This time she was a little more warmed up to us. We played the afternoon away. She loved doing puzzles and blowing bubbles. She was still a little shy, but she was starting to let her guard down. She also called me mama that afternoon. Of course, my heart melted.

Our trip fell over Easter. We were able to worship at a service in Ethiopia. It was such a blessing to celebrate our risen Savior with brothers and sisters in Christ from the other side of our world. After service we got to go to the transition home. We brought an Easter dress to put Little Miss in. She looked beautiful in it. We are so smitten.

The rest of our days were filled mostly with getting to know our newest family member. Each day when we got to her she was more and more happy. Running to us with outstretched arms. Showing us more smiles. Giving us a little bit of sass. Letting us snuggle her. The last few days she cried when we left. That broke my heart.

On Wednesday we went to court. We were there with two other families from our agency. We all passed. No sweeter words could be heard than "She is yours". Legally Amelia is our daughter! Praise the Lord.

We had to leave the next evening. We made the best of the time we had. We snuggled and sang and played. Leaving was so hard! She cried as we dropped her back off to her nannies. We boarded our plane that night already missing our sweet girl.

Now we are home. Waiting again. Praying that the next few weeks go quickly. Hopefully, there will be more news to update on very soon. Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement. We are so blessed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Here we go

Today has been a whirlwind of a day. I got up early to get myself and the boys ready. Shuffled 3 boys and our dog out the door and on the road. I met my sister in law at a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere to give her 3 boys, 1 dog, 5 bags, 3 Easter baskets, and a handful of toys. As we drove separate ways I realized that I already missed them.

Then I drove the hour and a half home. Shuffled a few things around until Dan got home and then we got back in the car. We made our way down to Cincinnati. We had to update our finger prints (again) so we stopped in at the Federal building. We checked that off the list and headed out in search of dinner. We found a Panera and enjoyed a quick kid free meal. You'd think we'd have tons to talk about, but I am pretty sure we are still in shock that this is real.

Onward we went toward the airport. We were early, but that never hurts. So we checked in with our massive amounts of luggage. We made it through security. We stopped for some Starbucks. Then we parked at our gate. Dan napped and I played on my phone until our plane arrived. It was the smallest thing I've ever (well at least that I remember) been on. We had a quick 2 hour jump to DC. We deplaned, gathered our immense pile of bags, and caught a shuttle to our hotel. Due to our overnight layover we get to stay the night in a nice hotel. Get some rest and have a good breakfast before tomorrow.

Tomorrow...oh how that word has haunted me for so many weeks. Each day we were promised tomorrow there would be news. Now tomorrow is really here. We will be boarding a plane in less than 12 hours. A plane that will take us right across the world and land us in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. We will land, go to our hotel, and go meet her. We are talking in just over 24 hours.

I am so excited, and yet a little nervous. We are praying that all goes well. We are so looking forward to meeting our girl and learning about where she comes from. I am excited to hold her and snuggle her and tell her I love her. It is so close. We will try to update as internet access allows. Here we go.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Time lines

Since I was a little girl I pictured my family coming together through both biology and adoption. In January of 2010 God started letting Dan and I know the time had come to pursue our daughter through adoption. Our youngest was 6 months old. That was the year that my new year's resolution was to not get pregnant. We laughed at the irony of what God was calling us to, but He is a God with a sense of humor.

So we started searching for agencies. We asked friends who had adopted. We called places we found online. We received mail with information. We looked into both domestic and international. We decided that fostering wasn't a fit for our family. After praying it through we also crossed off domestic at that time. We narrowed it down to which agency was the best fit for us. Then within that we saw clearly that God was leading us to Ethiopia.

So we sent in our application, and soon we were approved. So it began. We paperchased for about 8 months. We celebrated when we mailed all that paperwork to our agency. I loved paperchasing. It was a to do list. I love having a list. Stuff I can do. It feels like you are moving.

Our dossier was sent to Ethiopia on November 11, 2010. And the wait began. When we started the wait time was 7-11 months, and at that time it was going down. We were number 31 on the list for an infant girl. We waited 2 years for our referral. At that point we had been number 1 on the list for 22 weeks. Finally, our family coordinator called. She told us that there just were no baby girls available. She asked if we'd be willing to take a child who was 19 months.

We talked and decided that if this is the child God has for us then we will rejoice for her. Even if it wasn't our plan. About the time we accepted our referral the courts in Ethiopia decided to change the way they did things...again. The new changes said you had to have a positive letter from MOWCYA (ministry of women children and youth affairs) before they would issue you a court date. When we received our referral it was about 6-12 weeks to be issued a court date. We waited and finally were given the date of January 15 for a MOWCYA letter to be written. We had really hoped she could be home by then, but we were thankful for a timeline. At that point the courts said they would issue a date within 2 weeks of our letter being written. So we packed our bags. We prepared to have to get our kids to a friends and leave with a very short turn around. We were so excited.

January 15 came and went with no letter. A few weeks later we were told that MOWCYA wrote us a negative letter. They said we did not have updated financial statements. We did. It was their error. So they gave us a new date of February 18. Again the days came and went into March with no news. On March 6 they gave us a new date of March 8. No reason. Just to give us a new date. March 8 came and praise the Lord we were issued a positive letter. Most people had been getting their court date that day. We did not. So we waited all the next week.

Thursday March 14 we were told that the court in Ethiopia has lost our file. Our coordinator said we should still get a date in a day or two. That Friday the file was still lost. We had to wait until Monday to hear if we got a court date. The next Monday the court found our file, but the power was out in some parts of Addis so they couldn't assign us a court date.

While we are praising God for his blessings. I can't help but feel a little like we are moving two steps forward and one step back. It is hard not to play the comparison game. I just keep trusting God has a big picture plan that exceeds my right now mentality. He is faithful to complete all good works he starts. I look forward to posting the next steps on our timeline. Because at this point next up should be meeting our daughter!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Tonight I am going to bed with three of the sweetest blessings sleeping safe, full, and warm in a bed built by their handsome, caring, wonderful daddy. In a room next to parents who love them. In a house that is warm and safe. I look at that picture and I am so thankful.

Tonight part of my heart is in a bed far away. Tucked in by a nanny who is not her mommy. I don't know if she is sick or scared or hungry or cold. I think about her and my heart aches. I yearn for her. I miss her so much it hurts.

Tonight I am going to bed pleading with my Heavenly Father. Who I know and trust to be sovereign even when I don't understand the immediate situation. A God who loves me and this precious baby girl more than I can fathom. A God that is mighty. He is bigger than politics and paperwork and courts. He has a plan.

Tonight I go to bed hoping for tomorrow, believing His promises, resting in the truth that His mercies are new every morning. I rest in knowing that God is faithful. He has brought us to this place. He will give me strength. He does place the orphan in her home.

Please join us in praying that we are assigned a court date quickly. Pray that we are able bring our daughter home as soon as possible. Please pray for me. My momma heart is ready to explode.  Please pray for our boys because they are missing their baby sister. Please pray for Dan as he waits. Please pray for our little girl who is on the other side of the world waiting to come home to a mommy and daddy and brothers who love her so much. Thank you for you prayers. We so need them right now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Honestly, I have been living in a pity party lately. Life isn't going exactly my way, and I don't want to wait for anything else. When I take a step back and listen to myself I realize how selfish and silly I sound. I am blessed. I am given so much more than I deserve. I am not thankful enough for the truly amazing life I am living right now. Let's be real for a moment, shall we.

I am a child of the KING. I have been shown GRACE that is beyond words, MERCY that is beyond belief, and LOVE that I don't deserve. I am CHOSEN by HIM. I am HIS, and HE is fighting for me.

If that wasn't enough. God has given me:
A husband who is patient, kind, serving, giving, and selfless. Who puts up daily with my poor attitude, and beyond that he loves me through it.
Three precious boys. Who remind me daily of sweet simple blessings. Kisses and hugs and precious little "I love you's" fill my day. Laughing, running, and joke telling fill my home.
A promise of a sweet girl who will join our family. Who will be adored by her parents and brothers. She will have been worth the wait. 
Amazing friends who call, text, and email me encouragement all day long. Women who love on me, speak truth to me, and listen to me even when I don't return the same.
A home that is safe, warm, and cozy. A place where I teach my boys, cook our meals, and we can rest. A place we welcome friends and enjoy our family.
Food to eat, clothes to wear, cars to drive, air to breathe, a healthy body.

I am blessed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


At one of our local museums there is a cave exhibit. It is very cool. You go into what looks feels and sounds like a real cave. There is dripping water it is dark. They have a path cut out, but you really can't see much until you are right on it. Each time we go my boys are scared to go in. Each time we push them to go. They hold our hand (or arm or torso) and nervously walk through. Each time we take them they get a little bit braver. Now, they know we will be going through. They still ask if we can skip it. But when we get to the exhibit they hesitantly go in. They have been through it enough to know it may be a little scary, but Mom and Dad are with them so they know they will come out on the other end.

I feel a little like I am in a cave. This adoption is dark. We don't know how many curves are in the path. We don't know what is in our way ahead of us. We keep hitting obstacles that make the path harder. Honestly, it is scary. It is unknown. I do know that I am with God on this journey though. I know we will come out on the other side trusting him more. I know it will be ok. While I am here though I find myself asking why he has allowed so many curves on our path. I find myself clinging to him while at the same time begging for him to just get us to the other side.

Yesterday we got word from our agency that MOWCYA had written us an unfavorable letter. This was a huge blow. Their reasoning is that our financial form is outdated. This is especially hard to swallow because they have our updated documents. This delays us even further from receiving a court date. This means even more time that our daughter goes without a family. Our agency plans to request they look over our case again this week because it was their error, but it is unknown if MOWCYA will be willing. They are already trying to play catch up. Please pray with us that MOWCYA will quickly reevaluate and rewrite a favorable letter so that we can go meet our baby. Her birthday is in April, and I am desperately begging God that she is home with us by then. It will only be God that can make that happen at this point. But he is a big God. So it can happen.

We are so thankful for all who are praying with us. It means so much more than words can say. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We are getting closer and closer to bringing our little girl home. There are a few delays going on with waiting on a court date, but honestly, I can look at this gorgeous face of MY little girl and the wait is bearable. As we are coming to the end of this stage in our journey we get a lot of questions. One of the big ones is "Isn't adoption expensive?". The answer it YES. It is more money than we could ever save up on our own.

I am a stay at home mom. We live in a cozy home in a comfortable neighborhood. We live within our means. I love to clip coupons and shop clearance. I live for a big trash bag of hand me downs. We try to use cash not acquire debt. My amazing husband is a wonderful provider .He works hard to take care of us. We are very average. We are blessed beyond blessed. We are comfortable. We are happy. We don't have the ability to save up for an adoption. But we have a big God. He isn't going to call us to this and leave us hanging. He didn't put the dream to adopt in our hearts and just wish us luck.

We made a few adjustments to our budget to save. We cut cable. We didn't buy as much stuff as we might have. My friend, hear this, GOD is faithful. He has taken care of each step. He has been in this from before this was even a thought in our minds.  We have done fundraisers. We have been humbled and floored at the generosity of our friends, family, and even those we don't know who have given and supported us. Please understand, we don't have lots of wealthy friends who just wrote us large checks. We have faithful brothers and sisters who gave out of an abundance of God's love. We were blessed many times $10 and $20 at a time. God is faithful. We don't know exactly what the expenses will be that are left. Most are just for travel and those fluctuate, but to our estimates we have enough for the rest of the adoption. GOD is GOOD. He is bigger than any price tag. Please know if he calls you to something that just seems unrealistic. That's because it probably is...for you. I have to look at the huge stuff God has done over the course of the past 3 years and just give Him glory! To God be all the glory.

How cool that he chose our very average family to allow his glory to show. How cool that we will gain a daughter because of his faithfulness. Because of the generosity of so many we have been so blessed. Thank you for your gifts, your encouragement, your prayers. We can't wait to bring our baby girl home. For now I am just overwhelmingly thankful to you all, and pointing to my Lord who deserves all the glory.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Up and coming...

We have been crazy busy around here thus the blog has been slightly neglected. I wanted to fill everyone in on what we are anticipating for the next few months.

We have a court date for January 15 for our MOWCYA letter to be written. (MOWCYA is the ministry of women children and youth affairs). Please pray with us that we are written a favorable letter. Once we have a favorable letter we will most likely be traveling 1-2 weeks after that.

When we travel we will be meeting our baby girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then we will go to court in Ethiopia. Praying that we will pass court the first time around. We will return to the US without her. She will legally be ours once we pass court, though.

After we have passed court we will be waiting for our Embassy appointment. Usually this is about a 6-8 week wait. During this time our agency will be working to process our baby's birth certificate, passport, and other documentation.

Once we have a date for Embassy we will travel to pick her up and bring her home! Then we will do a happy dance. :)

This is a quick outline of the next few steps. We are so looking forward to meeting our baby girl in just a few weeks. We are like little kids waiting for Christmas. We are starting to prepare for travel now. We will be collecting donations to go to the transition home where our daughter is and also to some local orphanages. Below is a list of donations they are in need of. If you are interested in donating anything we would love to take it over to share with the children in these homes.

Current Priority Transition Home Needs

Child-sized cotton blankets
Foam/Rubber (lightweight) soccer/playing balls for toddlers
Diaper cream, specifically with zinc oxide (Desitin or Boudreaux's) ***HIGH PRIORITY
Clothing and shoes for children ages 8-14 ***HIGH PRIORITY
Warm clothing-sweatshirts, long-sleeved shirts, etc.
Bath towels for children*** HIGH PRIORITY
Antibacterial hand gel (40oz containers available at Wal-Mart for $5 and personal containers)
Small sized diapers
Baby bottles and nipples
Vitamin D drops
Unscented baby wipes ***please note, unscented/sensitive skin wipes are the only type

Orphanage and Transitional Home General Donation Needs

Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Scrubs for nurses and nannies
Crocks for nurses and nannies
General first aid items
Powder-free gloves for nannies and TH doctor
DVD and VHS children’s videos-especially Christian videos and/or ones with singing/dancing
Crocs for nannies
Toiletry bags (small) for children’s personal hygiene items (one per child needed)
Puzzles for young children
Toy cars and trucks appropriate for toddler aged children
Iron drops
Diaper rash ointment (A+D preferred)
Paper towels
Children’s clothing (new or slightly used); Boys and Girls; sizes 0-8 years. Clothing needs include
day clothes (especially pants), pajamas, underwear, and shoes.
Diapers for up to 30 pounds
Toys to stimulate babies such as colorful objects, rattles, etc. that are appropriate for babies
up to 2 years
Unscented baby wipes ***please note, unscented/sensitive skin wipes are the only type
Powder formula with DHA/RHA
A + D Original Ointment, Diaper Rash and All-Purpose Skincare Formula
Hand Sanitizer
Children’s Notebooks
Enfamil or Similac Lactose free formula.

*the following Generic Brands with identical nutritional value to Enfamil & Similac are also acceptable:

1. Parents Choice formula from Wal-Mart
2. Target’s generic Formula
3. Kirkland formula from Costco

Soy based or other special formulas are also acceptable as long as they are one of the brands listed

Medications/Medical Donation Needs**
o Multivitamins
o Tri-vi-sol (o to 6 months)
o Poly-vi-sol (6 months to 2 years)
o Chewable multi-vitamin (2 years to 9 years)
o Adult multivitamin (9 years plus)
o Tylenol (acetaminophen)
o Infants
o Children's
o Suppository
o Syringes for giving medicines (5mL)
o Plastic and Latex disposable gloves
o Baby nose saline spray
o Neosporin
o Mouth and nose masks
o Benadryl liquid/elixir
o Permetherin for scabies
o Lice kits
o Toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss

**Please check the expiration date on all donation items as expired items will be discarded upon
receipt and cannot be used.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in donating. If you would rather make a monetary donation we can use that toward buying supplies while we are in country. Thanks ahead of time for blessing these babies.

So that is where we are at. Once we pass court I will be posting pictures of our daughter's beautiful face. Until then we so appreciate your prayers that all runs smoothly and quickly.