Friday, February 28, 2014

There She Is

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for us. I can barely believe it actually happened! Except it did. I know it did because every time I look at my phone, I see this beautiful little girl on my screen staring back at me. My little girl. My daughter. I get shivers when I say that now. Because there’s a person attached to that word. She’s attached to that word.

If you’ve ever watched What To Expect – imagine the scene where Jennifer Lopez and her husband see their son for the first time. Yeah, aside from his reaction, it was like that. I sobbed. I could barely talk (We’re going to try to upload the video we took). I knew. I saw her face and I KNEW. Search YouTube for referral day videos. There are tons. That’s exactly what it was like. FINALLY seeing the face that you’ve been praying months, years for.

A face to go with the name you picked. Only to realize, it doesn’t “fit” her. As soon as we heard her Ethiopian name, and KC (brilliant man he is) immediately thought ‘Bertie’ would be a perfect nickname. A better way to keep the old and the new – exactly what we want to do. The boys love saying her Ethiopian name, though it is a bit hard to not call her ‘Effie’.

An adoptive momma-friend posted this on her Facebook yesterday. And goodness, it. Is. Perfect. There she is. Ours.

I know it’s only been 3 weeks since we received her picture and 1 week since we officially accepted her referral, but this wait time hasn’t been too bad. That’s likely because life got crazy all at once. My mother had heart surgery, my little sister is getting married, my father could possibly be released, my mother-in-law broke both her feet, and work has been crazy as I’m training my co-worker to do my job of payroll in anticipation of being out. So while we think of her often, we still have other things on our minds too. So it has helped.

It hasn’t been too bad… yet. We’re currently waiting for our PAIR letter to be issued. A process that can take 6-12 weeks. We’re praying daily that we see it in 4-6 weeks instead of 12, so we could use your help taking that request to Him.

It’s crazy. We’re at this place right now, where we’re okay with whatever. Because we know who she is. So, it won’t be pleasant waiting, but we’re okay with this time before our first trip being our longest. Because, once we meet her, it will be TORTURE coming home without her. Leaving her half way around the world….

The wait time before our first court date is about 2-3 months (if everything goes smoothly) and the wait between coming home after our first trip and going to get her on our second trip will only be 2-4 weeks instead of the 6-10 that it used to be. All because they’re moving a few steps to the beginning. I’m thanking God for that!

And we’re praying fervently, every single day that USCIS performs their investigations and interviews and issues that precious PAIR letter in just a few weeks’ time. That would be just fantastic! If that happens, we could travel 4-6 weeks after that for our Ethiopian court date. That could be at the end of April guys. I’m trusting and believing in God. Whatever His timing.

We’re working overtime to add more funds to our travel account and to pad our main bank account since I will be off for 10 weeks on unpaid leave. Luckily, it will be during the summer, so we won’t have pre-school costs and KC’s work tends to pick up in the summer months. So that will be a BIG help. The boys will also be home, so it will allow the 3 of them to bond. God knew just what he was doing….   :)

Guys. We’ve been so blessed by all of you. And you continue to amaze us. You’ve helped us from day 1 and are still doing so. One example: We gave away Oliver’s old crib we had been saving since we increased our age range. KC and I really felt like she would be older – around 3 or 4, so we knew we needed to find her a bed. A friend at work gave me a twin bed at the very end December. I was so thankful! But I was sure I had plenty of time to paint it and find a mattress and box spring. Wrong. Haha! I painted her bed over the weekend and had 2 friends give us a mattress and box spring. One had a mattress but no box spring, and the other had a box spring but no mattress. It worked out perfectly!! You guys.

KC and I will thank you as often as we can. I know I end most posts like this, but I want you all to know how important you have been in this process. You have given one little girl a chance at a new family. She lost hers, but has given another. She is a daughter again. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A cousin.

We cannot thank you enough. We can’t wait until she gets here and can see all the amazing people who helped to bring her home. ❤️

Friday, February 14, 2014




That was my word for 2014. Never would I imagine that I would see that hope fulfilled so quickly. I cannot stop smiling. And I cannot stop thanking God for His goodness. Tuesday was my 27thbirthday. On my 24th birthday, we mailed off our first piece of paperwork that started us on this journey.


It has been long and hard-fought, but when I got the call on Friday, all of it seemed to disappear. It’s no longer the thought in the forefront of my mind. It’s a distant memory (even though it’s not really that distant).


God never let us down. He was there with us through it all. He was with Bertie through it all.


And guys, this girl is radiant. There’s something about her, like her spark hasn’t been dimmed by all the hurt and loss she has experienced. And if that isn’t the Gospel, I don’t know what is. I wish I could show you her smile. The big shining smile. I wish I could show you her eyes. The glint that’s still there. She just glows!  


KC sent me a message on Monday. Someone at work said “What is up! You are like glowing!” – haha! I guess it’s contagious. KC, the boys, and I are all so full of joy and excitement. I’m just warning you, we will likely be unbearable to be around the next few weeks! Though it’s still a bit surreal. I see her. I know she’s mine, but it’s like it hasn’t quite set in yet. Each day is better and it becomes more of a reality – I just still can’t believe she’s ours!


I said all this to say, trust Him. He knows what He’s doing. He won’t let you go – He has you in His hands. You may be in a dark and difficult place right now, and whatever it is, know it’s just for a time. It will not last forever. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t moved on to someone else and left you stranded. He’s right there.


Sometimes we’re so caught up in what’s going wrong, that we miss Him standing right next to us. Stay strong friend. Whatever battle your facing, whatever trial you’re enduring – there is light just over the horizon. Keep your heart full of joy and your eyes on Him. You’ll make it through. 


In the words of Nacho Libre – “[You’ll] have your glory day in the hot sun.” I promise.  <3 



Sunday, February 9, 2014

How You Can Help

We've had a few people ask us how they can help as we near the time of accepting our referral and submitting our final payment.

First of all, we could use prayers. We are still a bit shy of what we need financially. We know God will provide.

Secondly, we've had a few people ask about helping financially. Please do not feel pressured to donate. But, if you do feel led, we've added a Paypal button on the left side of the blog. This will go directly to our adoption account. (You do not have to have a Paypal account to donate)

The Lifebook fees (all the information they have about her life and the region where she grew up) went up at the end of last year, and I was unaware that the post-placement fees were due at referral. So we're looking to be about 3500 short. We're hoping our checks next week will be big enough to reduce some of that, but we'll be a little shy.

Again, please do not feel obligated or pressured to help out financially. We need prayer just as much as anything - prayer that everything goes smoothly from here on out.

And thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers and help these last few years. I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but you have been the best village in helping bring Bertie home.  <3

KC and I cannot thank you all enough for EVERYTHING you guys have done. We owe so much to you for helping us bring this beautiful gift home.  <3

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The greatest birthday gift

My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. We. Got. Our. Referral. It's still so surreal to say that! 

Our daughter. She has a name. A face. A smile friends have already said look like mine. It's the chipmunk cheeks and squinty eyes from smiling so big. 

Her hair is short, but from the pictures it looks super curly. She glows. In every picture, she exudes joy. She is full of something - every picture she looked so happy and full of life. 

She's ours. 

She's been Effie for so long. But one look at her and we knew it didn't fit. We were given her long name and KC immediately looked at me and said "We should call her Bertie for short". She's 4, so we didn't want to completely change her name. The boys agreed that Bertie was better. And oh so fitting as it means "bright promise" - and that's exactly what she is. 

We have 2 weeks to officially accept our referral. We know she's ours. 

But we also have to have the remaining funds. And after talking to our Coordinator yesterday, I realized we saved too little. They upped some final fees last fall and one big fee I though we paid when we came back is due now as well. So we'll be using this time to scrimp and save. We're not worried. God has brought us this far and I know He won't let us down. 

So, in advance, forgive me for posting/selling whatever we can. Lol. 

Many of you have asked what is up next. Well, I'll number the steps to make it easier to see. 

1. Once we accept the referral, we have to wait for our PAIR letter. A letter from USCIS to allow her to "immigrate" to the USA. This is a new process just implemented last September.

2. Once we get our PAIR letter, we wait for our court date in Ethiopia. This is our first trip to ET. We're hoping to hit this point in about 8-10 weeks. 

3. Once we get approval from the Ethiopian courts to bring her home, we come home without her so the US Embassy can conduct their reviews. 

4. We head back to Ethiopia for our final trip (after US approval) and to finally bring our little girl home. This could be anywhere from 4-10 weeks after the first trip. 

5. Everyone who wants can meet us at the airport to finally see dear Bertie. 

6. We hole up in our house for anywhere from 3-5 months to cocoon/bond with her. It's important that she know that KC and I are her providers, her comforters, the ones who show her love and affection. 

Don't worry, the cocooning stage won't last forever. Lol. We just want to make sure she bonds with us. 

Anyway, that's where we are in a nutshell. I'll post more as we get further along, but I'll leave you with a few announcement pictures we took this morning, thanks to my best friend Desiree. ❤️ 

Thank you ALL for your prayers and support throughout this journey. We cannot wait to have her in our arms!