Tuesday, December 11, 2012

16 months since DTE!

As we approach Christmas, our family also is celebrating 16 months since sending our dossier to Ethiopia (DTE)! 

Two weeks ago was so exciting and encouraging - after nearly 3.5 months of total referral drought, our agency was able to give multiple referrals every day for several days, adding up to a total of 14 referrals in November! Necessary clearances for some of the children in the transition home finally came through, and so we get to rejoice with the families who got good news. We still have a long wait ahead of us... but the referrals resulted in significant progress up the wait list (3 spots movement for us). Progress is GOOD! 

I finished painting this stained glass style piece of Mary and baby Jesus

~Sweet girl, we hope that we will get to celebrate next Christmas with YOU in our arms!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest post by sweet Momma K

Hello all! I first want to thank Katie for allowing me to submit this guest post. I really love her artwork, and being an adoptive mom of a beautiful girl from Ethiopia, it definitely strikes a chord with me. We have a number of prints up throughout our house.

I am writing to ask for a HUGE favor, but more on that in a bit..

First – let me introduce myself. As mentioned above, I am K, a single mom of a fantastic 3 year old Ethiopian princess.

I felt so blessed by my first adoption experience, I wanted to embark on bringing home another beautiful child.

As many of you may know, the international adoption road is a long and winding one. There have been some changes throughout this process that have caused me to look for financial support through fundraising. I have been working on multiple things to raise money, but have also taken advantage of an adoption fundraising website called Just Love Coffee. The idea of this website is to allow people to buy items (coffee, apparel, mugs, etc.) with a portion of the proceeds sent to our family to assist in our adoption.

The website for dedicated to our family is: https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/ourblendedfamily/

Now for the favor part: I would greatly appreciate any support that you (or your friends / families) might be in a position to provide through purchases from this site. Every purchase will make a huge difference in my goal of growing to be a family of three. Hopefully you can also take care of some holiday shopping while you are at it.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this post and any assistance you are in a position to provide.


Monday, November 12, 2012

15 months since DTE!

Our dossier arrived in Ethiopia 15 months ago!

Things have been pretty quiet in our agency, concerning referrals. Some sweet little birdies tell us that there are many little ones in the transition home that have not been referred... but right now it is taking a long time for kids to receive the necessary clearances. Our agency does not issue a referral until the clearances have been obtained - which means a longer wait up front. However, this also means that once a referral is given, things move pretty quickly with court dates and Embassy appointments. We are thankful for the thoroughness of our wonderful agency, AWAA.

~Please join us in praying for clearances to come through - these must be obtained in sequence, first at the local level, then the regional level, then at the federal level. The Ethiopian officials processing such clearances often don't feel any sense of urgency, so it can take months to complete. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

14 months waiting since DTE!!!

Ooops, last Friday was our 14-month-waiting-since-DTE-versary, and we were so busy, it totally flew past me!

Today we had our homestudy update meeting - everything was easy and smooth, and getting the documents updated (new security clearances, new fingerprints, new doctor's form and letter, new financial spreadsheet, copy of tax forms from last year) was much easier than when we had to do it the first time (there were also fewer documents we  needed!).

We still have a long wait ahead of us, but it was encouraging to talk to our social worker. Hopefully we won't have to do another homestudy update before we get our referral!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

13 months since DTE!

Huh, this last month actually kind of zipped by me! We sent our dossier to Ethiopia 13 months ago!

Today my kids were pretty whiny, and while I was talking to them, I almost had to giggle, because some of the things I was telling them TOTALLY apply to our wait.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who on the inside sometimes feels like doing one of those whiny-jumping-up-and-down-waving-arms-making-whiny-noises-dances we see our kids doing...? (Ok, folks, don't leave me hanging here... I TOTALLY know I'm not the only one!)

While telling my 2-year-old that throwing a fit hasn't really gotten anyone anywhere, I realized that I really need to stop throwing an internal fit. I mean, seriously. God totally KNOWS what he is doing, and AWAA totally KNOWS what they are doing, and it really is out of my hands when things happen. So why on earth am I feeling whiny?

While telling my 6-year-old that it is ok to feel mad inside, and that it is ok to feel sad, but that HE is responsible for what he does about it... I was totally reminded that yes, I can acknowledge my feelings of frustration and sadness about the wait, but that I AM responsible for my actions, and that I can DECIDE to make the best out of the wait!

Also, while having my kids repeat their request for a snack in a non-whiny and non-rude tone... I was reminded (and I don't think I have mis-stepped in this manner YET) that we need to keep in mind that our social worker and family coordinator are TOTALLY on our side, and that we need to be kind and patient and polite with them, too! So, when I am feeling whiny and demanding, can someone please bop me over the head with one of those green flotation noodle things, and remind me that I need to ask nicely? :)

This long wait sucks. Have I mentioned that it sucks? I would love to get a call TOMORROW that we have a referral (totally not going to happen yet for a long time). BUT do you know what? God is bigger than my selfish little ideas about timing. He is bigger than my impatience, and he is definitely bigger than any hold-ups with paperwork. Don't lose hope, guys!

One final challenge: Let's use our time wisely. Don't check the yahoo group page every hour (*cough*) to see if there is news. I for one am going to *try to* only check it once every few days. When there IS news, I will totally be cheering! But don't take precious time away from your husband/wife/kid(s)/friends by checking yahoo and then having another one of those whiny-jumping-up-and-down-waving-arms-making-whiny-noises-dances fit when there is no news.

Did I make you smile just a little? I sure hope so!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

1 year DTE!!!

Look how little the boys were 1 year ago:

Happy to be DTE! (1 year ago~)

Today marks our 1-year anniversary since we sent our dossier to Ethiopia. We anticipate our adoption journey to continue cruising along in the "wait" stage for 6-12 more months, then HOPEFULLY we'll get a referral... but it could take longer.

On the bright side, the process of travelling and  passing court in Ethiopia and getting US Embassy clearances is going SO much smoother now for the families ahead of us, so the time frame in which we get to bring our daughter home after referral is hopefully only about 3-4 months.

I've been reading a lot of books about African and Ethiopia specifically, and one thing that stands out to me is how differently people mark time. Seasons are defined by the crops that grow, the rains that fall, which animals have babies when.

Even though sometimes time crept unbearably slowly, this year also seems to have flown by as we waited impatiently.

A few benchmarks in OUR last year since we sent our dossier to Ethiopia:
-S learned to walk!
-M started Kindergarten!
-S turned 1 (will turn 2 next month)
-We had visitors from near and far
-We visited family and friends near and far-ish (we miss our friends who are really far away!)
-We all bled a little blood from various small injuries
-We all sneezed and wheezed a little during the winter, but overall had a very healthy year
-Many hours were spent building with LEGOs (hubby + boys), reading (all), painting (me + the boys), gardening (me), writing awesome cool computer code (hubby)
-Many miles were hiked, fish were fished, and camps were camped
-Much mischief was achieved (boys, mostly)
-M lost his first tooth... and then continued losing more and more and more teeth!
-M finished his first year of school, and turned 6
-S is running and climbing and talking up a storm
-Hubby and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary

In short, life has been so good, and we feel so blessed! God has been so good to us! Yet, our family does not feel complete.

We really really really hope to have a referral this time next year, but international adoption can be unpredictable. We love our adoption agency, and are so thankful to know that they work so hard to ensure our adoption is ethical. I will happily wait as long as it takes if it means that we can be sure that everything is as it should be.

God's timing will be perfect, and I can't wait to meet the wonderful little person who will become our daughter!

Baby girl, we can't wait to include you in our family updates... family hikes... family hugs... family EVERYTHING!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


For the first time I dreamed of our daughter in Ethiopia... all night! It was hard to wake up and let it all go... but the wonderful part is that I know that I will be holding our sweet girl in my arms IN REAL LIFE in the future!

It will be interesting, in retrospect, to see if anything important happened in our daughter's life last night...

I can't wait to meet you, sweet girl!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

11 months waiting...

It has been 11 months now since we sent our dossier to Ethiopia. I have gotten to the point a few times this last month where I want to have a little temper tantrum about the long wait (you know, where you kind of stomp around shaking your shoulders and arms, yelling "Grrrr!"), but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God's timing will be perfect.
We could very well find ourselves waiting for another year or more. However, I am hopeful that it will be shorter, since our agency has been able to refer more children this past month than they have in a long time.

~Dear Lord, THANK YOU for this opportunity to practice patience. Please continue to prepare our hearts to welcome our little girl into our lives. Please protect our daughter, whether she is born yet or not. Please hold her in your loving hands, as her little life is touched by the circumstances that will bring her to us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

10 months since DTE!

Oh my. We have been waiting for 10 months now since we sent our dossier to Ethiopia. I'm bracing myself for 'more of same' ... and I know that GOD IS GOOD!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

9 months waiting since DTE!

Another month has passed. We sent our dossier to Ethiopia 9 months ago!

Since the current projected wait time for an infant girl is 18-24 months, we could possibly be half way there...
Very likely the wait-time time frame will be lengthened yet again... but we sure would be thrilled to get a referral next Spring!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

8 months since DTE!

This past month just flew by! Today we have been waiting for 8 months since sending our dossier to Ethiopia.

This also means that we have been waiting for 13 months since we first started our adoption! 

We are encouraged by all the progress we have been seeing in our agency - lots of referrals, including several infant girls, lots of families passing court, and lots of families coming home with their kids after passing Embassy. The wait time between referral, court date, and Embassy has also gotten shorter, at least if everything goes smoothly. 

We haven't been announcing our position in line because so much can change as families change their requests etc. but I have had a few requests to at least mention our position. So: We are now at position #49 on the unofficial wait list ~ that is definitely progress from where we started, slow but steady. Keep in mind that not all 48 families ahead of us are exclusively requesting an infant girl - some are requesting either gender, some are requesting girls from 0-4 years etc... so they may "skip" out of our line sooner than anticipated because they might get a referral for an older child or an infant boy. There are currently 14 or so families ahead of us who are exclusively requesting an infant girl. At the current rate, we may have a referral this time next year, possibly sooner... we have to remind ourselves that possibly the wait could also become longer. Getting a referral TOMORROW would be fine with me, but obviously we will wait for however many months or years we need to! God knows exactly which little girl will become our daughter. We trust HIS perfect timing, even when our hearts become impatient at times. 

I have really enjoyed looking at the photos other families from our agency are posting of their cute kidlets. I can't wait to have a sweet little face to look at, and then a sweet little girl to love on!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Expected wait times extended... *sigh*

Today we got an eMail from our agency that the projected wait times for an infant have been extended to 18-24 months now.

Deducting our 7 months that we have already waited since DTE, this means we will most likely have to wait for another 11-17 months before we get a referral.

The projected wait times may change again - you never know with international adoption. Things may speed up, or they may (more likely) slow down. The hold-up is in the rate at which the Ethiopian government is processing cases and clearances for the children.

My initial reaction is to feel discouraged, but at the same time, we knew from the beginning that international adoption is unpredictable. We hold fast to the knowledge that God's hand was in WHEN we began this journey, and HE has just the right little girl in mind for us. Our daughter will come into our lives in God's perfect timing!

~Just think, how special our little girl must be, that God would have us wait for her for such a long time!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

7 months waiting since DTE!

Has it been this long already? We applied to AWAA's Ethiopia program a year ago, and sent our dossier to Ethiopia 7 months ago.

It has been encouraging to see how many AWAA families have been getting referrals (for children of both genders, infants and older kids!), passing court, and passing Embassy lately. Things are moving slowly but steadily. As they say in the military: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast!

~It is strange to wonder whether our faraway daughter has been conceived yet. I'm praying for her and for her first mother...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fundraising Goal has been reached - THANK YOU!

I can't believe I'm announcing this more than a year out from when we expect a referral:

... *drum roll*...


I feel so blessed by God's provision, and am so thankful to everyone who has helped us. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Now what?!
Have no fear, our hands will not be idle:
-I am going to continue selling my art on Etsy, and 20% of my Etsy earnings will go directly to buying formula and diapers etc. for the orphanages in Ethiopia. We will bring the money with us when we travel to ET to meet our daughter, and will buy everything locally, to support the Ethiopian economy at the same time.

-I am very happy to help other adopting families fund raise with my art. Don't be shy to contact me!

~We are ready for you, sweet girl! I can't wait for you to come into our lives and make our family complete!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

6 months since DTE!

It has now been 6 months since our dossier was sent to Ethiopia.

This week I am thankful for the many referrals that were given to families last week - including some infant girl referrals! This bumped us up by a few spots on the inofficial waiting list. Yay for progress!

Speaking of progress, our agency has also informed us that the Kilil (khalil, killil) clearances from the Southern Regions of Ethiopia are starting to come through for some of the children waiting in the transition home. This will hopefully speed things up a little. At the same time, the necessity for more in-depth investigation prior to referral, as well as extra bureaucratic hoops to jump through after passing court, before submission to Embassy, may still keep things going slow-ish. I am choosing to focus on being excited about referrals and the  Kilil clearances coming through.

We continue to cruise along in life, excited to see what God has in store for us, and eager to find out who the little girl is who will become our daughter. We MIGHT have a referral by this time next year. 

...as mentioned before, time is passing slowly... and quickly at the same time. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Waiting is hard, ...and easy... and hard.

A few days ago at the craft store I couldn't resist picking up a few (free) silk flowers that had fallen on the floor. I never particularly liked silk flowers until I knew we were going to have a daughter. Now, every time we go to the craft store, I ask the cashier if I may keep the flowers that have fallen to the ground. I have a whole drawer full of silk daisies, pansies, and other blooms in different colors and sizes. I plan to sew or glue them onto hair clippies, head bands, hats, or tutus for our daughter some day... 

Life has a fairly regular pace around here, and time neither seems to fly nor drag by. Life is good, and we are happy. It is so fun to see and experience our boys growing. I feel content. 

At the same time, little things throughout our day remind me that a piece of my heart is in Ethiopia. I yearn for our little girl, wonder if she has been born, even conceived yet, far away in Ethiopia. 

These past two weeks two families from our agency got referrals for infant girls. Several others met their little ones for the first time in Ethiopia, and still others passed Embassy and got to bring their sons and daughters home. All of these things are GOOD because they mean that little ones are united with their Mommas and Dads, and (selfishly) because this means we move up the wait list (yay!). Every time children go home with their families, the open spots in the Transition Home in Ethiopia can be filled with more children who can in turn be referred to families... 

I will protect You.
We've hunkered down for a long wait. We applied to AWAA in March 2011, and sent our dossier to Ethiopia in August 2011. Friends have started to ask us "if we are still adopting" - the answer is YES, we are. Then they ask us how long we will still have to wait... to which I answer, "judging by current projected wait times, between 5 and 18 more months, but it could be longer."  

The day WILL come when our phone rings with the amazing news that we have a daughter. I feel anxious to see, meet, hold, love her. Last weekend I framed an 8x12inch print I made of my "I will protect you" painting and hung it in our entryway. It is my reminder to myself that the day WILL come when my daughter will be ours, and we will be hers. 

~Please continue to pray with us that everything goes smoothly with our adoption process. 
Please pray with us for our daughter's birth mother and family.
Please pray for the Ethiopian officials who will be deciding the course of so many adoptions. 
Please pray for our hearts as we wait.
Thank you.

We fully trust in God's perfect timing. He knows who our daughter is, and He will watch over her. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

5 months waiting since DTE!

 Right now I feel like we're cruising along. We've gotten the hang of waiting. I think of and pray for our daughter every day, but I know that God's timing will be perfect, so I don't worry.

There has been some movement in the "girl" line of our agency, and the news coming out of Ethiopia regarding the kallil clearances finally starting to be processed is encouraging, too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Melkam Genna! (Happy Ethiopian Christmas!)

Did you know that today is Ethiopian Christmas? 

We celebrated by making a home-cooked Ethiopian dinner of Doro Wat (spicy chicken stew), Mesir Wat (lentils) and Ye'abecha Gomen (collard greens, Ethiopian style). All this was served on home-made mini injera. The meal was a lot more work than I normally put into preparing a meal - I cooked on and off since 10:30am. The chicken has spicy and delicious, and the collard greens turned out just right. The injera turned out pretty good, too (not quite as fluffy as I remember). The lentils were kind of 'bla' in my opinion, but then I don't particularly like lentils. Mark thought the Doro Wat was delicious, which I was kind of surprised at, since it was quite spicy. It had a multitude of flavors that unfolded as you chewed: first the spicy flavor from the berbere mixture, then the cardamon and the ginger, then the lemon and tomato. 
Our dinner.

The story of how I came by the berbere is kind of cool. There's a Momma at Mark's school who I was pretty sure is Ethiopian. We smiled at each other and greeted each other every day (for months) but I've never officially met her. On Wednesday I went up to her and asked her point blank if her family celebrates Ethiopian Christmas. She was surprised and delighted! I asked her where I could best buy berbere to make Doro Wat, and she was even more delighted, and told me she would bring me some the next day that her family in ET makes and sends her. The next day she brought me a vat of berbere, and I brought her a little loaf of cinnamon sourdough bread that I had baked. We talked and I admitted how nervous I had been to ask her, because I wasn't even sure she was from ET. She laughed and said she was just so happy to find someone in our community who even knows about ET holidays. I wished her a Melkam Genna, and she clapped her hands and wished me the same. :o)