Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Next stop, Washington D.C.!

Today is an exciting day! Our file was received by our team in Michigan. Our dossier specialist Miss C. reviewed our dossier and said everything looked great! Especially considering we gathered it all in less than 2 weeks.


And guess what? They’re sending it to D.C. today!


*cue huge shout of joy!*


If you remember (if you follow me on FB), our agency is going to have our authentication expedited. Cool huh? 

Even better, they’re going to cover the fees that go with having it expedited! Another blessing! It takes about a week for the expedited authentication.


We’re praying that D.C. finishes up quickly and that Michigan gets our file no later than next Thursday. If that happens, our file will be on its way to merry ol’ Ethiopia {oh, maybe that’s supposed to be London.  ;-) } on Friday the 5th! If not, it won’t be sent until Friday the 12th. Either one is still great, but the 5th would mean we would get our court date sooner and prayerfully within a day or two of the Clarks.


Imagine leaving the place you’ve called home for 1-3 years all by yourself. We’re really wanting to go at the same time as the Clarks so our girls can travel back to Addis Ababa together. We’ll all be staying in the same guest house while we’re there too.


Aubrey and I just know it’d be an easier transition on both of the girls if they were together at least a little longer.


So, this is where we’re at friends.


This is the last stop our dossier has to make. Amazingly, everything has been happening quickly at this step. Please help us pray it continues to go swiftly!


As we get closer to making the actual trip to get our sweet girl, I find myself constantly thinking of you guys. All of you who have helped us in our journey to bring her home. So many of you have helped out tremendously – many of our new friends, and old friends, and family members have battled right next to us.


Thank you. We cannot say it enough. I wish there was more that we could do, more that I could say. But there is so much tied up in those two words and we want you to know that we aren’t sure how to convey it…. It seems so little for so much.


But know, that we appreciate and love you all so much; you hold such a precious, precious space in our hearts.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Well, 99.9%....

Soooooo 99.9% of our dossier was state sealed. YAY!!!
Why not 100% you ask? Wellllll, we had one form that Little Rock wouldn’t state seal because it was notarized wrong. Our bank form.
Guess who spent their lunch break running to the bank? This chick.
Guess who should buy stock in FedEx since we overnight so much derned paperwork? This chick (well, KC too I guess…. Hehe)
We got a new form taken care of and it will be overnighted to Little Rock. They should get it on Monday and I’m *praying über  hard* that she can get it state sealed and FedExed back to us by Tuesday.
*Update: Beth will have it state sealed on Monday and will send the whole thing to us that afternoon. So we will have it by Tuesday!! So that means I can send it off on Wednesday and Michigan will have it by Thursday. Woot woot!
This may not seem like a big deal (and in comparison to everything else, it truly isn’t), but it puts us back almost a whole week. By the time I get it, get copies made and send it to Michigan, it’ll be the end of next week. If you remember, I was hoping to send it off to Michigan today.
Boooooo again.
BUT it happens. We’re human. Mistakes get made. I practically looked that packet over with a magnifying glass and didn’t catch it. Haha!
Not to say I didn’t read the email, stop, stare, and then bang my head on my desk a few times (kidding… sort of), but then I jumped in ‘ta high gear and got it taken care of as quickly as I could.
I called KC to let him know what happened and he reminded me that this may not have that big of an impact on us. We definitely feel that way now (a week is a big deal at this point in the game) but we’re pretty close to being finished. AND he reminded me that Mr. F in Ethiopia is going to push our case through as quickly as possible since we’ve already gone through this once before.
I find myself working hard right now because I want to get a court date within a day or two of the Clarks. It does seem a bit farfetched, but I’m still hoping for it.
So even though I had hoped to show you another picture of a FedEx packet on its way to Michigan, it seems like that will have to wait another few days.
The good news is, we paid our final $300 to have our dossier authenticated… again. Haha! NOW other than our travel fees we’re done with adoption expenses. Seriously, I’m not sure if it ever ends.
Well friends. That is where we’re at – still waiting on paperwork. But it’ll all work out soon. As hard as is to imagine at a moment like this, I know it will.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Funny how 3 weeks ago today, we thought we’d get the news that we were cleared to travel that day or Wednesday. Instead, we received word that our case had been delayed again (3 weeks tomorrow) and we would have to re-do our entire Dossier before we were issued a court date. I’m amazed at how much can change in such a short amount of time – and how much your perspective changes once some time has passed.
Well, yesterday we mailed off our dossier!!! It should be at our agency’s office in Little Rock this morning. We’re hoping we can get it state sealed and mailed back to us by the end of the week. If that does happen, we’ll be sending it to Michigan first thing next week to be reviewed and then sent to DC *hopefully* by the end of that week (August 29th). It takes about 2 weeks to be authenticated in DC and then our coordinator will send it to Ethiopia with their Friday DHL shipment.
If everything happens in about the timeline that it did last year, our file could be on its way to Ethiopia on September 12th!
The coordinator in Ethiopia, Mr. F, is confident he can get it translated and reviewed by MOWCYA (or sometimes we refer to them as MOWA) within a few days. He thinks we’ll get a court date issued before courts open back up.
If we get a court date on the 16th or 17th, we’d have to travel by the 10th or 11th so we can take the long drive up North to see Bertie and bring her back to the capital to stay with us. That is only about 7 weeks away!! We are boldly praying and stepping out on the ledge again and trusting that He can do this for us.
I know it’s HUGE to hope and pray that God can work this through quickly and that we will get a date close to The Clarks. I know it seems crazy to hope this even after all our delays. But we are. It’s easy to get jaded by the amount of rejection and bad news we get.
But we’re making the decision to hope for a miracle. God has certainly done wilder things on our behalf.
If it doesn’t happen this way, okay. It will be unfortunate and I may cry… a lot. But I’ll still trust Him and have faith that He will come through for us in another way.
Please friends, please help us flood heaven with prayers. Not sure what all to pray for our family? Here’s a few things:
1.      Pray that our file hits all the stops quickly and without delays
2.      Pray that our file makes its way to Ethiopia by early September
3.      Pray that we get a court date issued ASAP for October 16th or 17th.
4.      Pray that our boys can handle being away from us for so long
5.      Pray that WE can handle being away from the boys for so long
6.      Pray that Bertie begins to bond with and trusts us before we make the long 20+ hour flight home
And please continue to pray for us once we come home. Our journey doesn’t end once we land at XNA. <3
Thank you guys all SO much for everything. We will continue to keep you updated. It’s getting close! {again}

Thursday, August 14, 2014

And if not….

We’re tired. Things feel a bit muddled.


·         Trying to get that last piece needed for the dossier

·         Praying we get it in the mail to Little Rock by next Tuesday or Wednesday

·         Praying we get a mid-October court date

·         Trying to get everything ready for school starting on Monday

·         Trying to plan for being gone during the school year (and likely over Thanksgiving)

·         Trying to slowly start buying Christmas gifts so we don’t have to worry once we get back

·         Trying to ignore the rude and insensitive remarks made about our family and the decisions we make with God’s leading

·         Life


Right now, that’s kind of where we’re at and how we’re feeling.


We’re trying to keep ourselves occupied by doing some things around the house.


It’s hard to keep your mind distracted sometimes. But we’re trying.


We found out this week that we could get a court date given to us during the “closing”. Apparently, the judges are the only ones out during the rainy season. The clerks are still there working.


So there’s a chance we could be given our date before the courts officially open.


However… (are you expecting those from us now? Haha!)


Our sweet coordinator who, bless her, has had to deliver a lot of bad news to us recently, told us that right now they are scheduling couples with positive letters in mid-October into late October.


That’s for those who are “paper ready” right now.


Unfortunately, that’s not us.


Hence (always a fun word), the likelihood of us getting an October court date is looking slim. At this rate, it’s more likely to be early November.

Our friends received word that they are scheduled for October 16. So we may not travel together after all. 




I think sometimes you just get to a place that you hear more, for lack of a better word, crappy news and you just stare at those words, sigh, and then kind of purse your lips.


And you have to be careful because you don’t want to turn into this “hope for the best, but expect the worst” kind of person.


Trust me.


That was the beat I followed and it wasn’t pleasant.


So while you’re staring at those words glaring back at you, you summon everything you can and utter a small moan.


He knows. He understands all the pain, frustration, and weariness that is contained in that moan.


And you know what?


Despite all the crappiness and chaos, He is still good. He is for me.


And He is still worth it.


Did you catch that?




I want to be open with you guys; I promised I would be through this blog.


I want to be real and honest and talk about the ups and downs of adoption, life, my walk with Him.


BUT I always, always want to make sure you understand that line.


Things may not ever go the way that I want them to. We’ll face battles and trials; and we’ll feel like fireballs are heading straight for us.


And in that particular moment, life might feel like it pretty much bites the big one; things might just suck.


But it’s only for a season, and HE IS STILL WORTH IT. All of it.


We are not naïve.


We are not weak.


We are not grasping at straws.


We are putting our trust and hope in something greater than ourselves.


While in this moment things may seem messy and chaotic to me, they aren’t to Him.


So yes, today might feel a bit crappy. But He is still worth anything that may get thrown my way.


And friends, looking back through time, I know we’re in good company.




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Ethiopia? Why not adopt from America?

As we’re working overtime to get our dossier completed and *hopefully* sent off to be state sealed by the end of next week, I thought I’d address this question; because I’m not sure I have in blog form.
[Note: As I write this, I want you to know I’m writing from my heart. Please do not take this post as condemnation, but as a way for you to look at international adoption in a different light.]
This one questions that we get asked probably as often as “But she won’t be sick or have like HIV right?”.
My response to the question of “Why don’t you adopt from America? There are kids here who need homes too. Why Ethiopia?” is simple.
Why not?
Why should a child’s latitude and longitude coordinates choose whether or not a child can have a second chance at a family.
But the even simpler answer?
Because God told us to.
That may not make any sense to you, but when KC and I started praying about adoption we honestly thought we’d adopt domestically or from a Latin American country – either one would be “easier”. KC’s white. I’m half white, half Mexican.
Square peg. Square hole.
But you should know by now, that’s not how God works. He stretches us. Takes us out of our comfort zone – away from the easy and pushes us towards the hard.
Each of us has a heart for something different. If we all had the same passions, things would get pretty boring and a totally one sided.
KC and I are adopting from another country. We’re passionate about that. KC will kill me for saying this, but even with all the unknowns, I’d adopt internationally AGAIN!
Because that’s where my heart is. That doesn’t mean KC and I haven’t considered foster care and prayed about it. We have. But we were drawn elsewhere.
Take my friend Lindsay (who is letting me share a part of her story). She’s a momma of two blessings. One adopted domestically and one biological. She and her husband are getting close to finishing their paperwork so their house can be “open” to adopt through the  foster care system. 
That’s where her beautiful heart is.
That doesn’t mean they didn’t consider and pray about international adoption. They did. But again, they were led elsewhere.
The dream God gave them is different than what He gave us.
Does that make one of us better than the other? Is her daughter more deserving than my daughter to have a family because she was born in America?
Is my daughter more deserving than her daughter to have a family because she was born in a third-world country?
Think on that.
Mull it over.
Am I more deserving of God’s grace because my sins don’t seem as “big” as someone who is caught up in addiction? Thievery? Murder?
Are they more deserving of God’s grace because their sins are “bigger” than mine?
Think on that.
Mull it over.
Just as much as I have been given a second chance due to my transgressions, my daughter, Lindsay’s daughter, the other children out there without parents…… they too can and should be given a second chance at a family.
So please friends, think about these things the next time you hear of someone adopting – be it domestically or internationally. Those comments you’re making are in regards to a child.
A real.
My child.
Who has endured more death, pain, and heartbreak than most adults.
She is loved and adored just as much as her brothers are.
I am loved and adored just as much as my 6 billion other brothers and sisters.
Why Ethiopia?
I say why not.
{“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10}

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dossier Re-do – Progress Report

We got good news this morning regarding our Dossier.


KC and I were under the impression that we would re-do our dossier, have it reviewed, send it off to be state sealed in Little Rock, send it to be reviewed again, send it to be authenticated in D.C., send it to be reviewed one final time, and then send it to Ethiopia to wait until courts opened back up in October, have it reviewed by MOWA, get issued a positive recommendation letter, and wait for a court date for late October/early November.


But after talking to our Dossier Specialist this morning, we discovered that it will look more like re-do our dossier, have it reviewed, send it off to be state sealed in Little Rock, send it to be reviewed again, send it to be authenticated in D.C., send it to be reviewed one final time, and then send it to Ethiopia (no need to wait until courts opened back up in October), have it reviewed by MOWA asap, get issued a positive recommendation letter, and wait for a court date for mid to late October if we’re lucky.


What does that mean?


Well, we thought MOWA closed when the courts did. They don’t. So they can already have reviewed our Dossier and issued our letter before courts open! All we’ll have to wait for is our court date. And if, by some crazy chance, MOWA needs anything else from us, we’ll have time to get it without pushing back our court date.


Yup. Praise. Jesus. *happy dance*


KC and I are hoping to knock everything out by the end of next week so we can submit it for the first of many reviews. We’ve been able to finish up a lot of the stuff. We have our physical appointments next week and that’s the farthest thing out. Our new birth and marriage certificates should be here by the end of this week and KC and I are going to run to the police department on our lunch break to get our background checks taken care of.


It’s still a lot of work and paperwork to gather, but we know what to expect this time around so we’re finishing it up faster than last time. For instance, we already know that since our home study is signed by our social worker’s supervisor in Tennessee and is also notarized in TN, we have to have it state sealed there and not in Arkansas. That took us about 2 weeks to figure out and get taken care of. Haha!


We are going to do our best to keep ourselves occupied during this time. We’ll try to do a lot of stuff with the boys before we become a family of 5. We’ll also do some more work around the house in order to get ready… meaning I need to stay caught up on laundry. Boo to that.


Please continue to pray for us. We thought the waiting was over, and now these next 2 months are going to feel like an eternity – even though it’s not a terribly long amount of time, it’s still hard.


I came across these verses in Romans 4. I’m going to be holding on to this for the next few weeks…


*Please continue to pray for T's parents. The chances of them traveling soon is getting slim. They're still hoping and praying that they'll get squeezed in. ❤️





Monday, August 4, 2014

A battering ram

When talking about trials, I've frequently used the oceans waves as a comparison. 

You're fighting the waves, and many times it seems like you're finally able to break through the waves and  gasp for air before being pummelled by another wave. 

Definitely what a lot of us have felt like during hardships. Definitely how I have felt through almost all of them. 

But this last week, I feel as though experienced something a bit different. 

KC asked me on Friday how I was feeling. I told him I felt like I was getting hit with a battering ram. 

I'd have moments where I felt okay, but then it'd hit and man would it hit hard. 

I feel like a battering ram is worse than the waves. It's deceitful. It gives you a few moments to feel like you're okay. To feel as though it's over. But in reality, each hit is just weakening you. 

If you've seen any type of war movie, you know what I'm talking about. For me, I think of Return of the King. The Orcs are attacking Gondor. In order to gain entry, they use a battering ram (which apparently is named Grond) against the big wooden doors. Doors that could hold up to almost anything. 

Here's the thing about battering rams; they slowly destroy us. They take away our strength. With each hit, our resolve to stand in our battle weakens. 

With each hit, we begin to question who we are, what we're doing, and why we're in the battle that we're in. 

More importantly, we begin to question God. We begin to doubt His character. We begin to wonder if He was ever really on our side at all. 

We yell and get angry. We tell God 'Haven't we had enough?!'

Right now, I'm not getting any answers. It feels as though He's just holding me while I rage on. And sometimes, that's all we need. 

I know many of you do not understand what KC and I and the boys are going through and feeling. 

I know you're not sure how we can feel so much love for someone we've "only met on paper". 

That's okay guys. It's hard to understand. We don't need you to understand and we don't need you to fix it. 

Just the love and little words of encouragement have been enough. 

It's okay if you don't have big words of wisdom. Some of the best things that were said to us were simple "I don't know what to say, but I'm praying for you" sort of things. 


Guys. It comes in waves. I find the hot tears running down my face before I even realize it. Small things cause the tears to begin; like realizing we are going to miss her 5th birthday and realizing we could be gone over Thanksgiving. 

I'm confused. I'm frustrated. I'm sad. 

And right now, God is holding me through each hit we take. 

I came across this quote on Thursday:

And I've been holding tightly to it. Mulling it over. Praying about it. 

And it hit me. 

I don't trust in God because of what He can do for me, I trust Him because of who He is...

He is my Comforter. My Protector. My Father, and my Friend. 

He is my Provider, and my Healer. 

He, dear friends, is FAITHFUL. 

I constantly hear people say, "He'll never give you more than you can handle"...

I don't think that's true. I think if God gave me just as much as I could handle, I'd have no need to call on Him. I'd think I'd accomplished it of my own accord. 


I think He gives us MORE than we could handle ourselves. So that when we climb out on the other side, we and everyone around us knows it was by His grace and the glory goes to Him and only Him. 

So right now, as I'm dusting myself off before another blow, I know that He is the only way that I will make it through. 

He is the reason for the fight. 

I, we, will continue on to fight the good fight of faith. 

For no other reason than HE is.