Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hard pressed

We do not have any good news for you guys. Just that it's not yet over. We’re going to have to keep fighting.


We found out today, after the team in Ethiopia met with some officials:


“what we took away from it is that while there is no intention to close ICA and no specific goal toward denying any particular children, there does seem to be a very politicized effort to delay and discourage cases from being released/approved for ICA”


ICA means inter-country adoption. Meaning the delays are merely a political strategy; my daughter is in an orphanage because the powers that be aren’t sure they want to continue with inter-country adoptions.


All we know is as of right now, we should eventually get travel clearance. We aren’t sure how long until we get it and we aren’t even sure if they’ll change their minds and deny us travel at all. We’re still waiting on more answers from our agency.


Right now, I’m not feeling much in the way of emotions. Mostly because I think I’m refusing to believe that the delay could go on for a few more weeks or months.


I’m in denial.


We likely won’t hear any more news in regards to our case this week. Next week is Christmas, so if we don’t hear anything by Wednesday, we won’t hear anything until the following week. 

The team in Ethiopia has another meeting next week, one they’re hoping will help to pressure the Ministry to sign off on all waiting cases. We’ll have to wait and see at this point.


I can’t quite describe to you the feelings that come with knowing that there is no reason for these delays; other than to simply delay and discourage adoption. I can’t quite describe to you the feeling that comes with knowing that my daughter is 8,000 miles away, waiting for me to come and get her.


This hurts. Beyond belief.


I’m dreading the look on my boys’ face when I tell them it will still be a while before we get to bring their sister home.




They’re understanding now how much this wait hurts. They have a good enough grasp on time, that they know this has taken forever and will take even more time.


KC and I have decided to spend some time the next few days praying and fasting. Not only for us, but the other families who are waiting. Our agency has 8 families waiting for their signature. I can’t imagine the number of parents waiting with other agencies.


“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”


Friends, please continue to pray on behalf of these families and these children. We can all use as many prayers as we can get. ❤️



{“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” –Hebrews 10:39}



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winding down

As another week is winding down with no news, we have to face the harsh reality that we may not be together this year.


We may not be together for Christmas.


Things may drag on through January.


This isn’t just us assuming so – this is coming from our coordinator.


Travel before Christmas is highly unlikely.


As much as we hate the news, we are so grateful for the transparency with our agency. I know it’s hard for our coordinator to continually deliver bad news, but I’d prefer to know.


We’ll have the end of year US holiday on the 25th (Christmas), the first US holiday of the year on the 1st (New Year’s), and the Ethiopian holiday on January 7th (Ethiopian Christmas). So unfortunately, things could most certainly be delayed well into the second week of January.


We also haven’t heard from the orphanage yet in regards to our note we sent our dear girl.


We don’t know what to say other than this. really. really. sucks.


Everything is at a standstill, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.


(This is taking so much longer than it ever should have. Saturday marks 10 months since we got “the call”.)


We’re stuck in limbo, and it bites.


Remember in Star Wars Episode 1 when Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan are fighting Darth Maul? And those barrier things come up and they have to wait a few minutes before they can resume fighting?


wish I could be like Qui-Gon Jinn and rest. Meditate. Prepare myself for the remainder of the fight. But I feel more like Darth Maul. Pacing back and forth, hitting the barrier in the hopes that it’ll come down faster. 


Every night it’s hard to go to bed. Because every night I get panicked that it could be another day of no news. 

KC and I were talking last night, and I told him it’s like Ground Hogs Day. The same thing. Over. And over. And over. The boys are so sad every day that “we don’t get the letter for Bertie”. They continue asking everyday. 


We’re still waiting, and it’s seems like there’s no end in sight.


I’m a mom. A mom who is 8,000 miles away from her child. A mom who has missed 5 birthdays, the chicken pox, and her first lost tooth.


We’re a family who is trying hard to wait patiently, but cannot. But HE is my refuge. All I can do is keep crying out to Him. To hold us, and to comfort us.


To hold her, and to comfort her.  ❤️



{Then you shall call and The Lord will answer; you shall cry and He will say, 'Here I am.'   ~Isaiah 58:9}



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The continued pause

We still have not received our signature. MOWA was "closed" yesterday and is in “all day training” and won’t issue signatures today.


Some days, I don’t have anything remotely wise or uplifting to say. 

Some days, when we get news that we’re still in the thick of waiting, I can only take a deep breath and prepare my heart.


KC and I are at a loss. We’re upset and just dumbfounded at the continued delays for one signature. 


Please friends, continue to pray for our hearts. For the boys’ hearts. For Bertie’s heart.


We’ve bared our hearts and soul and left them wide open. With each delay, I’m nervous that it’s leading up to bad news. 

I’m terrified of them changing their minds. Those are the thoughts that continue to creep into my mind, try as hard as I may to keep them away. 


It takes an enormous amount of courage to do the things that He asks you to. 

And some days, I feel like I’m not brave enough to do it.


Today, I don’t feel brave. Or strong. 


But I’ll continue praying to the One who is. 


For peace. For courage. For trust. ❤️


I’ll leave you with a piece of my devotional from this morning. I’ve included the link at the bottom for the full version.



Waiting can feel empty and desperately lonely.

And waiting can feel small.

It can feel worthless.

Being the one who is always waiting can defeat you from the inside.

We are quick to dismiss waiting as a waste of time. We want to be doing.

{The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waitingGod’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.}

Romans 8:22-28 (The Message).



Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Last week, KC, the boys, and I were able to take a quick picture and email it along with a note to our agency to give to Bertie. They in turn forwarded it to the team in Ethiopia to translate and email to the orphanage.


They had tried for the last several days to get the message sent, but the orphanages internet connectivity was down.


Amazingly, the orphanage manager was in Addis Ababa today for a meeting with our agency’s team. Our social worker Miss M. was able to give him the note and picture for her. He’ll be traveling back up north at the end of the week.


We're excited to say that Bertie will get our message and picture by the end of the week!! Miss M will call the orphanage next week to see how she received it and what she’s feeling.


I’m ever so thankful for technology and God’s perfect timing.


This has been a crazy, stressful, and trying few months. But you already knew that. To have something so big and important so close you can almost touch it, just to have it pulled away at the last second – it’s maddening to say the least. 


And it’s been like that every week for the last ten weeks.


Right now, everything is lining up perfectly for the head of MOWA to sign off on our case tomorrow. They are back in the office and our file should be the first one reviewed tomorrow. 


But, as we’ve seen the last few weeks, we know that it could still go either way. And with the American holiday at the end of the week, we could still be in limbo until next Monday. 


We're cautiously optimistic... But we will be so grateful if we hear good news tomorrow!


As it stands, we’re already excited that she’ll be able to get our note in a few days. We just stressed how much we love her, miss her, and can’t wait to see her.


Guys – she’s getting SO big. She’s lost a lot of her baby-ish features. AND she lost two of her bottom teeth!


We are also so thankful for Aubrey and her family. They have given us so much information to help the trip go smoother. They’ve shared additional pictures, videos, and tips with us. They even left us a little care package at the Bethany office in Ethiopia!

We're grateful to have advice from someone who was just there. 


So despite all the delays, setbacks, hurdles, and tears – we’re finding the blessings and silver linings in it all.


And despite all the delays, setbacks, hurdles, and tears… I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Even if you gave me full disclosure at the beginning, we'd still go through it all again. ❤️



Sunday, November 16, 2014

The hard

I'm not gonna lie. Today was a bit rough. 

Guys. Adoption is hard. This is hard. Being halfway across the world away from your child is hard. 

Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and every other -ally. 

The last few weeks, I've tried very hard not to cry each time we heard bad news. I've done pretty well. 

But I think it was just damming all the emotions. Because this weekend was difficult. 

I didn't want to see anyone. I didn't want anyone to ask me questions. Because I didn't think I had enough strength to hold the tears in. 

Turns out, I didn't. 

As I was sitting in church today and the first song started in worship, I couldn't hold it in. And I didn't (for whatever reason I had in my mind) want to cry buckets of tears sitting on the front row. 

So I made my way to the bathroom as quickly as I could. And I cried in the stall for the remaining 2 songs. 

I freshened up and walked back out like I was fine and hoped that the message was something irrelevant. 

It wasn't. 

Pastor Casey asked us to open up to Luke 18:1. 

{Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.}

Not. Give. Up. 

Another translation says "not to lose heart". 

I couldn't help but bow my head and sigh. 

But it was what I needed to hear. 

I always question whether or not I should share so much with you guys.  But I always decide to, because I want you to understand (as best as you can seeing this from the outside) what we're feeling. 

I don't know what He's doing. I cannot imagine what the need would be for so many delays. 

But trying to figure it out wouldn't help. It would probably only make things harder. 

We may never know the reasons. And I'm becoming okay with that. 

We just have to make sure that we can dust ourselves off and keep trusting Him. 

It's hard. But I'm going to keep praying and hoping that this is the week. 

I'll do anything to hold her. And I know that will be one of our greatest moments. ❤️ 


Friday, November 7, 2014

Nine months

On Friday, February 7th we first saw her face.

Today, Friday, November 7th marks 9 months since that crazy happy day.

 It’s been a loooooong nine months. It's been a looooonnnnggg "pregnancy" - full of anticipation. 

Seriously, I think it will take everything in me not to run to her. I don't want to freak her out or anything you know.  ;-)

But we are so ready to hug her neck and never let go. <3 


We DID get good news today! We found out that MOWA is:

*drum-roll please*

working through the weekend to catch up on cases!!

This is TOTALLY unheard of. Our coordinator Miss J said she practically yelled “What! That’s amazing!” when she found out.

So Mr. D (who, along with Mr. F has been going to MOWA every. single. day. to check in on all our cases – bless him) said that we should get our recommendation by the end of next week at the latest! We’re still hopeful and are praying that MOWA can knock out a lot of cases this weekend and will make it to our file sooner rather than later.

I LOVE our agency. Miss J called me with the great news this morning and told us they are all praying for us. All of Bethany’s cases were given negative recommendation letters, but we've experienced significant delays in comparison to everyone else. So Mr. F and Mr. D are fighting hard on our behalf to get us that letter.

I asked her to please convey our thanks to them for working so hard for us. When you have to rely on others to take care of things for you, it’s hard if they aren't as “gung-ho” as you are. But these two, they've been our champions. And I thank God for them.

I’m sure you’re wondering about timelines now. Well, since no one has made it past MOWA, no court dates have been issued. But they’re generally 2-3 weeks out. If we get our recommendation next week, we should be issued our court date within a day or two of getting our letter.

Right now, it looks like we could have a court date for the end of November or the first week of December.

We’re overjoyed right now. And as long as I’m with her for Christmas and KC is with the boys, my heart will be happy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In the wise words of Joe Dirt

We've gotta keep on keepin' on. 

Well, the good news is that court gave MOWA a date of November 5 (tomorrow) to issue their recommendation.


And that’s where the good news stops.


MOWA told us that they won’t be issuing their recommendation tomorrow.


Since they closed down for 2 weeks, they’re still working on cases from October 20th.




They told the team in Ethiopia, they likely won’t get to our case until next week.


BEST case scenario is we get our recommendation letter and court date by mid-week next week.


Likely scenario is we get our recommendation letter and court date by the end of the week.


Worst case scenario is we get our recommendation letter and court date the following week.



All we can do is keep trusting and keep hoping and keep on keepin' on. 


We're inching our way there. Slowly but surely. ❤️


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rumor has it

Yes, I’m aware you probably now have Adele’s song stuck in your head. You’re welcome. 

Don’t fight it. Just sing. And dance. It makes Tuesday better. Pinky promise. Hehehe.


Um, so, anyways…….


We’ve been told that MOWA is rumored to open back up on November 3rd; that’s next Monday. We’re praying that this rumor is actually the truth! We are more than ready to get our positive recommendation letter and court date to travel.


We’re not sure when our court date could be though. MOWA had not issued many positive letters before they closed. So our agency doesn’t know how far out court scheduling could be and won’t know until someone makes it through. 

We’re hoping we make it through next week!  


We also found out that instead of taking a 4-5 day driving trip to Bertie’s orphanage, we’ll now be flying. The good news definitely outweighs the bad with this change though!


A. We’ll get to Bertie’s orphanage sooner

B. It’ll only be about $100 more than what we budgeted for

C. The trip will only take about 2 ½ days.


The only downside is that we don’t get a chance to be at the orphanage for very long. I would’ve enjoyed spending more time with the people who were her family while we she was there.


Prayerfully, only a few more days of waiting. At this point, it will be almost 9 months to the day since we first saw her face.


Uh, so I only just realized that that is the length of a pregnancy! Ha! 

I told you, I’m easily amused and that revelation just made me chuckle. This has been a long 9 months, but just like we felt when we finally met our boys, I know we’ll feel the same way when we finally meet her.


And social media will be flooded (well, depending on the reliability of the wiffy) with pictures and videos of her. Oh happy day!




Oh. One more prayer request please:


With all the uncertainty of travel dates and the possibility that we could be there longer than 4 weeks (and could miss both big holidays with the boys), KC and I have decided that he will come home after 3-4 weeks no matter what. 

I will be in Ethiopia alone with B for a week or two and will *likely* be traveling home solo unless our plan works out – not sure about that though. 

BUT I’m totally not worried either way, which is a bit of a surprise honestly. I know I can do this. 


KC and I feel confident that this is the best choice for our family, so please no negativity m-kay? Leaving your kiddos for 4 weeks is hard enough without throwing in being gone over Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas…. 

Only sunshine and rainbows here guys.


So amigas and amigos – this is where we are. We’re so thankful for your prayers, words of encouragement, and little gifts for our trip (like extra Shout Wipes – thanks Cara!).


Jou guys are de besssst! ❤️ 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Battle of the Atlantic

Odd title post for me right? Well, that's because today's post comes courtesy of Mr. Collins. 

In case you missed the news on our Facebook group, MOWA decided to close for 10 days and not give anyone any warning. So, our file still has not been approved and now won't be reviewed until at least November 3rd when they open back up. 

Unless they open back up sooner, we won't get our positive recommendation letter OR be given our court date until that first week of November. 

We won't be traveling until sometime in mid-November now. It's hard to wait a few more weeks, but I know we can make it. 

With all that said, here are a few words from my amazing husband. You guys are in for a treat. 


The Battle of the Atlantic was the largest and longest naval battle in history and the longest campaign in WW2. It virtually lasted the entire war. The battle for the Atlantic was to WW2 what WW2 was to the world. 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships were sunk for the loss of 783 German U-boats. Churchill said that regardless of what else was happening, this constant battle was on his mind. If they lost the ocean, they lost the war. 

Our adoption battle, so far in our marriage, has been our battle of the Atlantic.  This has been our longest and hardest battle, and most rewarding. I believe these years will define us for a long time. Not just because we are adopting a beautiful little girl, but also because of the work the Holy Spirit has done in us through our almost 4 year long struggle against self, weariness, pride, finances, insecurities, and doubt. 

I am the man of the house. I'm the family's "pastor". The spiritual leader. And there is something odd I am beginning to fully comprehend in all this. 

"You don't get many moments like these. We must make the most of them. "

You've read this blog. So you must be wondering, make the most of your wife's tears? Make the most her pain and struggles? Make the most of testing your kid's patience for their sister? Make the most of my own pain and struggle?

Yes. Yes, that is exactly right. 

My own selfishness has to go out of the window when it's easier to get angry and bitter than it is to hold my angry wife. My pride in my own strength and abilities, finely tuned by years in the military which I thought made me invincible, has to sit down and shut up like a school kid in the corner when a 3rd world government puts on the brakes for the umpteenth time. 

And in these moments I've learned God gives me strength when I don't have it, and is my strength when I can't use it. 

I've learned you can't encourage your spouse with, "Just sit here and be quiet and pray more." (As spiritual and wise as that sounds). She needs to hear, "I love you and you are doing great. And God loves us, too."

Mr. Fix-it can't fix my daughter's questions half a world away, wondering where that family is that said we were coming to get her. He can't fix his wife's pain. He can't fix all of his financial problems. He can't fix a broken system or unhelpful government officials. 

But our battle has taught me I wasn't called to fix it all. I was called to point my family to the only one who can. And I can't do that by fixing our attitudes. I have to fix our eyes on Jesus. And they look at what I'm looking at. 

If we are to make the most of these moments, we must understand we are not fighting to get through the courts, or raise enough money, or even just adopt a daughter. 

We don't win when we win this battle. We all win, my whole family wins, when God wins our hearts. 

We make the most of these moments by letting God make the most out of us. 

James 1:4
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

KC Collins


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Negative recommendation letter número dos

Yes friends, you read that right. Haha!


MOWA issued us another negative recommendation letter because we didn’t have a certain form in our file. An original form that has never been requested before, but is now required as part of their new processes and procedures.


Our file looked great! It’s just that form that they now need.


The good news is, that original form with all original signatures is in the office in Ethiopia and Mr. F will be taking it to court tomorrow.


And now, for the bad news:


It will still take a few days for the head of MOWA to review the document so that our positive recommendation letter can be issued. Then, it will be at least a day or two before court will give us our court date.


They should review our file and give us our letter the same day. So at least we won’t have to wait days before we get the letter (hopefully).


Best case scenario, we’re looking at getting an official court date sometime late next week.


Worst case scenario, it could still be another 2 weeks.


We’ll know more tomorrow when we find out what “court date” MOWA is given to review our file.


At this point, I don’t think we’ll be traveling much at all with the Clarks.


Right now, we’re looking at a court date the first or second week of November.




It has been 8 ½ months since we first saw our girls face. It’s been almost a month since she found out who we were and that we were coming for her.


This. Is. HARD.


I don't want to stop going. I want to keep singing no matter what comes against us. 


Right now, I still am, but it feels like it’s more of a whisper or a hum.


He is still good. And He still has me.


But, gosh, this keeps getting harder...




“Still my soul will sing Your praise unending….


One more week may not seem like a long time, but when you’ve heard “should be next week” for 6-7 weeks now, it gets kind of difficult to make it through each day.


But guys, we’re in no way giving up.


Not on her.


And definitely not on Him.


Still, we’d love to continue to receive your prayers. Lord knows our hearts could use them.


And thank you, for fighting this battle alongside us. You are appreciated more than words could say.  ❤️



{“Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will hear their cries and comfort them” -Psalm 10:17}



(Oh, and please forgive me if I burst into tears at random moments. I try to avoid it, but sometimes a thought comes into my head and it forces those tears out. Haha! I’m definitely appreciating the fact that my office is in the back corner of the building on days like this.)


Friday, October 10, 2014

And again….

MOWA has new processes and procedures in place. Therefore, our file was not reviewed at the court date appointed especially for us for reasons unbeknownst to our agency or the team in Ethiopia. There are now 3 hoops to jump through before MOWA will even send our file to court to be issued a court date.


We’re apparently at the 2nd hoop.


On Friday afternoon.


Our agency is doing everything they can to get us a court date. But MOWA seems to be making it more and more difficult. No one is sure what’s going on with them anymore. There are many new officials in MOWA and at court and it doesn’t seem like anyone there knows what’s going on.


That’s pretty much all we can tell you guys.


There’s nothing more that KC and I can do. We’re at their mercy.


It’s hard guys. I mean, crazy and ridiculously hard.


At this point, we won’t be in Africa until the very end of the month.


I highly doubt we’ll get to leave next Friday like we all were hoping.


We might be a little quiet this weekend and next week. I don’t want to post updates that aren’t really updates.


We’re still holding tight despite how hard the wind is blowing.


I have no doubt that we won’t be there soon, it’s just that each delay and new procedure is tiring.








It’s a fine line that KC and I are treading. Between remaining hopeful and not crossing over and becoming bitter and cynical. It’s easy to wake up one day and realize you’ve crossed that line.


But I’ve got to remember that our hope isn’t in man. Or courts. Or organizations; it’s in Him.


And even though we’re tired and exhausted and feel like we can’t hold on any more,


We know He’s still there holding us.


Throughout this whole process – from day one – I don’t think I could have made it if I didn’t have hope.


Yes this is hard. Yes the delays suck. Yes I’ve wanted to give up. Yes I’m dying to hold my daughter.




But it’s SO worth it! I gladly take these ups and downs with the knowledge that Bertie will be with us soon.


(That doesn’t mean I can’t cry about the hiccups we encounter, because I can.)


He never promised me that things would be easy. But He promised me that He’d be with me each and every painful step of the way.


He’s always there.








Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our continuing mêlée

have to take a deep breath before I begin; to collect my thoughts. There are many spinning around in my mind right now. But know that today has actually been a good day. You all have rallied around our family and we are so appreciative of you.


KC and I have had many of our questions answered. Most of the answers were very eye-opening and many were unexciting, with the exception of one.


The bottom line is this - 


There are still many in Ethiopia who are not happy with inter-country adoptions. And they are continuing to try to cut down on the numbers of adoptions that get completed. And our case is being made an example of in order to slow the process down.


KC and I are thankful for the transparency that our agency has with us. We are so thankful for our coordinator, the team, and Mr. F who are constantly fighting on our behalf because they too can see the unfairness going on with our case. They are doing all they can to get our case reviewed sooner than the 10th.


However, things are very delicate at this stage in the adoption process. You do not want to seem like you are strong-arming them nor do you want to seem like you are requesting "special treatment" for a family. That could seriously jeopardize our case and others in the pipeline behind us. We do not want that to happen. So we are waiting patiently and are praying hard.


The only exciting news is that, at this point, no one feels like we will lose Bertie. They are just throwing extra hoops at us to jump through and are essentially just picking on us.


How do we know it’s just us? Well, 2 other families were given court dates yesterday with the furthest one out being October 22nd. Their cases were submitted weeks after ours. On the one hand, we’re glad that it’s just us. But on the other hand, it kinda bites.


So as of right now, we will have to wait until the 10th. We are so thankful for you all and all your prayers for us today. Please continue to pray for all the other families waiting on referrals and waiting to be submitted to court – pray that they will not have to endure what we have. I would not wish this on anyone.


Know that this is a victory friends. We can feel your prayers at work. KC and I have been so full of encouragement and are ready to keep fighting. We are hoping to find out some more news tomorrow, so we’ll be sure to update you again as soon as we hear anything.


The takeaway from this news today is:


1.      Bertie is still ours.

2.      Our agency is working diligently on our behalf and are praying for us daily

3.      You guys are praying for us daily

4.      The day we meet her will be so much sweeter, knowing what we endured to bring her home

5.      God has great plans for this little girl


And again (and most importantly)

6.      Bertie is our daughter and is loved tremendously


She knows us. And I’m praying she’s as excited as we are. Because I will run to her as fast as I can. I will hold her and won’t ever want to let her go. ❤️