Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where We Are…

I’m sure you may have figured out by now, that there are a lot of ups and downs in adoption land. Many times it seems like there are more downs than ups.



· Court in Ethiopia is backed up.

· We still don’t have a date for the          birth relative interview.

· We still don’t have enough to make the trip.

· We’ll likely miss the first day of second grade for Caedmon and the first day of Kindergarten for Oliver.

· If we don’t get a court date before August, we’ll have to wait until October to see her.

· That’s 4 months away.

· We’ll miss her birthday.



It’s been 12 days since we were submitted to court. It can take up to 4 weeks to be given a birth relative court date. Then, we need a letter of recommendation from the MOWCYA which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. After we receive that letter, we’ll wait to be given OUR court date.


More waiting.


Last week was rough. Actually, so far this week has been too.  I am upset. Tired. Worried. Ready to be there.


I’m doing my best to stay hopeful, but to be completely honest, we are. Worn. Out. And as much as I know God is here beside me and I know that He has it all under control, I’m feeling a littleincredibly impatient and cantankerous right now. This momma is ready to see her girl and bring her home.


I’d prefer that this post not turn into a pity party, so I’m going to leave it at that. Haha! We still have some hurdles to clear, and we’re praying we can clear them sooner rather than later. We’ve trusted Him this far, and we aren’t going to stop now.


So for now, I’m just here. Waiting. It’s hard, but we’ve waited before. But please bear with me the next few weeks as we wait for news.


Thank you all for your prayers. We sure could use them.  ❤️




*I sometimes feel selfish for feeling like this. Our story is unique to us, and presents its own challenges to our family. But I know there are adoptive families out there who are going through hard (and harder) times than we are right now. That doesn’t diminish how we’re feeling, but I know that despite our ups and downs, there are families who have experienced what we have. And they survived.


Today, many families are in D.C. to plead with our government to help get their children in the Democratic Republic of Congo home. They’ve been legally adopted and cleared court, however the Congolese government will not issue exit visas.


Some of these families have been waiting more than a year to bring their little ones home. Please, pray for these families as well. Adoption is hard. But our little kiddos are SO worth the hard.







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

PAIR Letter? Check!!

Hello friends!


Well, good news! We were submitted to court on Friday! Our agency went ahead and submitted us without our PAIR letter since they knew we’d get it in the next day or so.


And guess what was in the mailbox on Friday afternoon? You guessed it. Our letter. This gives up preliminary approval for Bertie to migrate to the US and become a citizen. 

I dropped it in the mail to our agency yesterday afternoon. They will get it authenticated and sent to Ethiopia for our court file. 


Per our agency, court has been a little backed up lately, but they hope to get us a birth relative court date within the next 1-4 weeks. We’re praying hard that it’s sooner. We’re quickly approaching the court closures for the rainy season.


As soon as we the court date has been completed, we’ll be waiting on a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA). As soon as the team has that letter, we’ll be submitted for a court date. Those will generally come within 1-3 weeks!


Please continue to pray for us. We still aren’t where we need to be financially due to crazy airfare prices doubling for the summer season. We had planned to save at least 6,500 by the end of June – and we’re there. But after running numbers for each of our 3 travel options (2 trips, up to a 4 week trip, or up to a 6 week trip), we realized we’d need almost double. This was not poor planning on our part. We continued to check airfare all throughout the spring. And it hovered around 1100-1600 per ticket.


When we looked earlier this month, we had definitely had sticker shock. KC and I are not big travelers, so we didn't realize what the summer months will do to ticket prices. Haha!

Apparently, the summer airfare hike is hitting many adoptive families hard. We're all scrambling for any help we can get, and most organizations are just out of funds at this point. 


We’re budgeting as best as we can for the next month to allow for us to add extra to our travel savings account. Even with all the uncertainty, we’re not stressing out too bad because we’ve prayed continually for His guidance on this. We’re oddly at peace and we know that He will meet us where we are. We know that’s from Him because we should not be this calm at this point. Haha!


I’m thankful for His presence to help calm my spirit when the things of this world try to steal my joy. We are blessed in more ways than we realize, and I try to dwell on those things instead.  :)

Soon. It'll all be over soon. ❤️




Sunday, June 8, 2014

In oceans deep, my faith will stand….

I debated on whether or not I should share this post. But friends, I always want to be real with you. I typed this up on Friday. Before my pleasant post yesterday. Adoption isn't easy. If you've read any of my blog, you know this. BUT it is the greatest journey that KC and I have been on. It's tested us and through it, we've grown so much in our relationship with Him. But our relationship with Him isn't always easy either. It's messy, but oh, can it be beautiful as well. 

This weekend, I've been a mess; emotionally, physically, and spiritually. God has asked us to do so much in our journey already, and He has asked us for more. 

And in this moment, it isn't so much more spiritually as it is physically, financially. And folks, for me, it's been hard to see this through to the end financially. We've discovered that tickets are double in summer time. A big blow when we were just a smidge shy of where we knew we needed to be to make 2 trips to Ethiopia. 

When we crunched numbers, I felt like I spiritually just FELL to my knees and whispered "Why?"

And I've been in this in between place all weekend  of knowing He's got this, and also feeling so overwhelmed at what more we still need. 

Church today was just what I needed. Pastor Casey's message was dead on. The worship bands final song reduced me to hot, and ugly tears. 

After service, we spoke to our campus pastor to let him know what our new plans were regarding being out and asked for prayer as we navigate this all. He prayed for us and I sobbed again before being asked to help pray with someone else. 

And then, just when I thought I was all cried out, Pastor Stacy stopped me to ask if I was okay. I wasn't. And the tears fell again. I apologized to her for the waterworks. I told her it was just an overwhelming weekend. She told me not to worry and asked to pray for me. And the tears kept coming. 

And before she walked away, she told me to just 'rest'. And the tears fell again. Because that is what God has been talking to me about for the last week. Before we got any news and before we decided to stay in-country. 


So I will try my hardest to rest in Him this week. But I have no guarantee that I will not cry if someone asks me anything about the adoption. Haha! 

Without further adieu, here is the raw, emotion filled post I typed up (through tears, shocking I know) when we knew we needed to change our plans. 

At the end, I've also added the song that I put on every time we hit a bump. The song that helps lead me into that still, quiet place where I can hear Him better. 


If you ever wanted to know what complete and utter faith looks like, pursue adoption.

Because as hard as it has been to trust God these last few years, it’s even harder right now.

Right now, my feet, they feel like they are failing. We’ve done every single thing we can possibly do up until now.

We are standing at the edge, waiting on Him. Going deeper and further than we ever could have imagined. Knowing He’s there. Waiting.

“Just a little further Sandra. My dear, our fingers are almost touching. Trust Me.” *I’m sobbing as I type this*

I’m human. I get scared. And right now, I’m so terrified of not trusting Him and failing Him. Not because of what He’ll do, but because of how He always comes through for me. I’ve put Him in a box time and time again. And each time, He’s blown that box wide open.

And here I am. Standing. Looking at something that is so IMPOSSIBLE. Completely. As in God, what are you doing because there is NO WAY. And still, He’s gently calling me out to Him. “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander”

Waiting for me to tell Him I still trust Him. I’ve called out to Him more times than I can count. To swoop in. Take care of this in an easier fashion. “And my faith will be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior”

Today. I’m scared. Nervous. Terrified. ” So I will call upon Your name, Keep my eyes above the waves”

But…. I will keep walking towards Him. “My soul will rest in Your embrace, I am Yours and You are mine”


Because “You've never failed and You won't start now”

And there I will “find You in the mystery, In oceans deep, My faith will stand”.

His grace is overflowing. And He will continue to guide us.


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Plan Q

Whelp. It's amazing how much our plans can change when we give everything over to God. 

When we started out on this journey to adopt from Ethiopia, we knew we'd be taking 2 separate trips to see our girl and then finally bring her home. 

At one point, we considered switching to South Africa but decided against it because we'd be required to stay in-country for 6-8 weeks. 

Last month our agency told us that they were considering offering the option of 1 trip consisting of 4-6 weeks. We'd be able to take custody of Bertie after we cleared court and spend bookous of time with her. 

But, we quickly dismissed that option. We thought it just wasn't feasible. Thought. 

So here we are, about 5 weeks away from traveling and we contacted a travel agency regarding airfare because we were told prices double in the summer. 

It's true. We were expecting to spend 1200 and now we're looking at 2500 A PIECE. 

Talk about a kick to the gut. KC and I talked about it and then thought it might be cheaper to stay in-country. 

So he asked me to run the numbers. And we were amazed. It really WILL be cheaper to stay in-country! 

We've been told we could be there up to 6 weeks, but we're praying it's shorter, as we've seen some families come home after 4 weeks. 

This DEFINITELY changes SO SO much. 

A. We'll be in a foreign country for at least a month. 
B. We'll be away from our boys for at least a month. 
C. We'll be with our newly adopted daughter for at least a month in a foreign country. 

So this is just to update family and friends. If anyone has any tips or advice for staying in-country, please share them. We'll take all the help we can get. 

KC and I are a bit nervous about leaving the boys for so long, but we're also excited about spending time with Bertie in Ethiopa. I'm pretty sure the boys will be fine chilling with grandparents and aunts and friends. Lol. 

This is was a quick change and we're still digesting it all. I've been pretty emotional the last day or two, so please be prepared if you encounter me in the next few days. Haha!! 

We'll let our agency know next week and they'll be able to give us more information and more details. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as our journey takes an unexpected yet exciting turn.  ❤️


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Final interview Status? COMPLETE!!!

Eeeeek!! We got an email from the embassy early this morning. 

They’ve completed their final interview and have sent their determination to the NBC/USCIS office here in Kansas City.


They do not tell us what their determination was in the email. Our officer at NBC/USCIS will do that within the next 4-10 days. IF we cleared, which we’re 99% sure we did, they’ll mail us the PAIR letter.


And that dear friends. Is the last piece of paperwork we need in order to make our first trip to see her beautiful face. It won’t be long now! And we can barely contain our excitement!


We will upload a copy of our letter to our agency so they can send it to Ethiopia so Ethiopia can schedule the birth parent/relative court date. Those are normally 3-4 weeks out.


And then we could travel within a week or two of that date! We could be in Ethiopia the week after the 4th of July! Or earlier if things go along smoothly.


Friends, I know we’ve asked a lot of you these past few months. But please help us pray about our trip.


We still are unsure as to whether we are going to take 2 separate trips or if we’ll stay in country for 4-6 weeks (even though we’ve been told it could be closer to 3). Both require more finances that we had planned for as ticket prices double in the summer.


If we don’t stay in country and decide to make 2 trips, we will get minimal time with Bertie. As in barely 2 hours with her our first trip and then only 2-3 days our second trip before bringing her home.


We’re praying and waiting on God for a clear heading. That He will either provide the funds needed or that He will help us develop a bond with Bertie in that short amount of time.


Sweet friends, will you agree with us? And help us pray for clarity?


And if you haven’t already heard, we’ve been selected as the featured family of the week at Give1Save1. We’re so blessed by this opportunity! You’re more than welcome to head over to their blog and check out our video and donate if you feel led.


I don’t think KC and I can adequately express how grateful and humbled we are by your kindness and generosity. I wish I could come and hug each of you around the neck. Since that’s not likely, imagine me hugging you tightly. And crying. Because let’s face it, I’m a hugger and I tend to get emotional. This hug could get awkward. But that’s okay. Because it’s all I have to give you for all you’ve done for us. <3  











Monday, June 2, 2014

Give1Save1 Featured Family of the Week!!!

The great opportunity I've been talking about for the last couple of weeks?? Here it is!
We have been chosen as the featured family for this week through Give 1, Save 1!

Collins Give1Save1 Featured Family

 We are so excited to be blessed with this opportunity to share our adoption story! Here’s a little information about who Give1Save1 is:


Every Monday we are going to ask you for a dollar. We’re going to tell you who it’s going to and what it’s being used for. We’re mostly funding adoption for the people, by the people. The premise is for lots of people to give a little and let it all add up! We’re just going to rain down a crazy blessing on a adoptive family and we’re going to do it every week. We’re going to get huge. And the world will be changed for lots of people because of your generosity. That sounds exciting, doesn't it?! Let’s do it.
We’ll tell you who we’re sponsoring and where to send your dollar. We will link a button to a safe online donation site that we’ll be blasting. Then once you've donated your dollar spread the word to get some more dollars in here. If you have a voice, an email account, a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a Pinboard USE IT! The only way we can make a big difference is to make it viral!


And your dollar will be saving and restoring lives in all kinds of ways. Removing a child from an orphanage gives that child a family and a future, something everyone needs. It also frees up a bed in an orphanage for another child. Your dollar will change lives and save lives in ways you may never know.
To help you can donate to the family of the week by clicking the donate tab at the top of the page. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and you’ll get notifications of all posts. That way you won’t miss a family! 

Give1Save1 is a blog with good intentions. We are not a nonprofit, and not really a grant. Just a blog that networks with generous-hearted people.....friends, new and old. We feature a family for a week and let you promote it with your supporters, friends and family...and we do the same. We ask our readers to donate $1 or more. The money is given to the family through an online donation account. The amount families have raised in a week varies widely from less than $100 to several thousand, depending on how much we all promote and share during their week.

So friends, if you’re new to our little blog welcome! And thank you for stopping by. If you’d like more information about us, you can click {About Us} and {Our Adoption Story} for information about our adoption process. If you'd like to see what our adoption steps and timeline looked like, click {HERE}.

This Wednesday (so close!!) USCIS will conduct their final interview before submitting their determination so we can get that elusive PAIR letter we need to finally be submitted for court.

We’re SO close and could be traveling later this month or early July! We are more than ready to meet our little girl.

This hasn’t been the easiest journey, but God has been faithful through and through. When we started this process, we thought we were going to adopt a “healthy” 0-2 year old girl. But God’s plans are so much better than ours. Our little girl has a few "special needs" and will be 5 in September. But I wouldn’t trade her for anyone else.
The boys are excited that she is so close in age and will be interested in the same things that they are. And they’re determined to deck her room with everything PINK! Haha!

Here is a link to our referral video we shot when we saw her face for the first time. And Here is a link to our Give1Save1 video!
In case you're viewing from a mobile device, here's a link to our PayPal address if you'd like to donate and help bring Bertie home.

Even if you can't help us financially, we can still use your help. If our story has touched your heart, please share it on social media with friends and family.

And of course, we could always use your prayers. We're still in a limbo of sorts, and are praying for guidance regarding whether or not we will take 2 separate trips or if we'll stay in country for 4-6 weeks. Prayers are always appreciated.

Again, thank you all so much for every single thing you have done to help us throughout this process. Whether it was donating money, your time to help with fundraisers, items for our garage sale, or covering us in prayer, we appreciate each and every single one of you. It takes a village, and you guys are the best village there is. We can’t wait to get her home and share her beautiful face with you all. You who helped and stuck by us through all the ups and downs.

Thank you and God bless.