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. ❤️



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Where to begin….

honestly have spent a big portion of my time just staring at the screen, wondering what to say.


First of all, know that 99.9999999% of adoption processes are not like ours. (I’m not sure how KC and I feel being the rare exception.)


For whatever reason, MOWA and the Ethiopian courts don’t follow the “normal” processes and procedures with us.


We have no clue why. By all accounts, we should have had our file reviewed today and should have received our court date.


But instead, the courts issued a separate court date of October 10th for MOWA to review our file (again)  to issue their recommendation – positive or negative.


That means we would not receive a court date until the week of the 13th.


KC and I are at the point where we are no longer sad, but angry. There is no logical reason why Bertie should not have already been home. There’s no logical reason why we should not have been given a court date today.


We entered into this stage of the process with several families, and our file has consistently been re-done, delayed, and turned back.

Again, this makes absolutely no sense  to anyone - us or our agency. Our agency has no idea why "the change in process".

I wanted to wait before typing up a post because there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of us, so the time difference can get a bit frustrating in instances like this. 

Guys, I'm going to be transparent with you. We do not know what another 'no' from MOWA and the courts would mean. We do not know if we could "lose" Bertie because they are not "content" with our file and what it contains. 

Friends, this is MORE than just us "waiting on God" or "trusting in His timing". 

KC and I both strongly feel like we're in the middle of a battle; a spiritual battle. 

In Ephesians 6:12-13 we're told that:

[Our] struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

There comes a time when we are called to do more; when we're called pray and fast and seek Him out. 

That does not mean that prayer and fasting will immediately remedy the situation. Many times, it will be hard fought. 

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 

But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 

-Daniel 10:12-13

For 21 days, Daniels prayers were fought. Daniel kept praying. He held on to faith that He would come through, and He did. 

KC and I are not giving up. We are, again, asking for your prayers. 

But if you feel led, we are asking you to take it a step further and fast for Bertie as well.