Our Story

Our Story
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~
Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the CALL to Give LOVE, MERCY, and PATIENCE.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to School!

Well, we survived our first week back to school.  Noah gets to go all day this year now that he is in First Grade.  It is a lot of work for such a little one - he fell asleep every day on our way home from school.  Jarod is all grown up and in third grade now.  He walks around with such a different confidence and maturity these days.  Leah loves going to preschool at Monica and was so excited to get homework to work on each night.  She is working on writing the letters in her name.  It is so sweet to watch the boys sit and help her do her work.  I've got a great group of students and I'm excited to see where the year takes us!  Other than being thoroughly exhausted each night - this week was a success.  A few pics of the first day of school!

I can't wait to add one more smiling face to the mix - we're comin' sweetheart!

On The List!

I was anxious and excited to get our Dossier submitted and find out where we are on "the list".  Several blogs that I have been following have a countdown list for families once they are DTE.  They get monthly updates of where they are - such as Infant Girl #23 - so families know how many families are ahead of them and can see their file move up the list with each months update.  As you know we were DTE last week 8/19/2011!!  I waited for the email with where we were on "the list" but it never came.  I contacted our family coordinator and asked her if our agency had such a list.  She said due to confidentiality reasons and unknowns in international adoption they do not have an agency list - SAD!  I was so looking forward to seeing where we were.  She did mention, however, that we have a yahoo chat group for families from our agency and they have taken it upon themselves to start their own list!

I joined the group on Friday morning but was at work all day so I wasn't able to go look around and see what all they had.  It has turned out to be a great resource and am excited to get to meet so many families.  They have packing lists for your travel over, info on air travel and currency, and lots more.  It is so great to get info and advice from families that have been there and that are going through the same journey as us.  I finally found the document that I was looking for - "The List"!!  They have it broken down into different categories(infant girl, infant boy, sibling groups/twins, 12+ girl, 12+ boy, etc.)  We are requesting a girl 3-4 years old so we fall under the 3 and older category.  I looked over the list and noticed that boy and girl requests were both in this category.  I counted the families on the list that were girls and there were only 5!!  That would make us #6 - SO EXCITING!  I messaged the person in charge of adding new families and gave her our specifics so that we could get on the list!  Now, it is important to mention that not ALL families from AWAA(Our Agency) are on the Yahoo chat group so the list isn't 100% accurate - but it is close!  I checked the list when I got home last night and was excited to see our names were on there!  We were listed at #6!!  I went to bed excited to be chatting with fellow families - some awaiting referral, some in homestudy, some awaiting court approval, some awaiting their embassy appt., and some who are home with their children!  I woke up this morning and it dawned on me that we should have been #6 out of just the girls, but there had been boy requests on there too.  I got back on this morning and took a look!  When we were added to the list, they also updated a couple referrals that had been given yesterday!  Also, originally I counted all the families and didn't pay attention to their DTE - a couple of them are within the last 2 weeks(After us!).  So, what I am trying to say is that we are techinically #6 on the list - but with only GIRL requestes included - we are #4!!!!

It is hard to guess how long the wait will be with children that are older.  They either have them available or they don't.  I am settling in for the wait and keeping my mind and heart at peace knowing that our Heavenly Father knows where our daughter is and when she will make it to us.  He knew her even before she took her first breath and long before she came into our hearts.  He will protect her and guide her and keep her safe while we are apart.  So excited to be at this point!  So excited to be on this journey!  God has taught us so much so far and I'm excited to see where He takes us next!

Friday, August 19, 2011


I found out pretty early on in our adoption journey that there is a definite lingo to adoption talk.  There are I-600s and I-171Hs, referrals and Dossiers...but one of the most exciting adoption lingo terms is DTE.  DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia.  A Dossier is a culmination of a TON of paperwork that you have to gather and collect to send to the country of choice.  You have to have everything from family scrapbooked picture pages to your home study to your clearance from homeland security.  A lot of hard work and time goes into the Dossier so that it can go represent your family in an effort to bring your child home. 

Our agency posted that Dossiers usually take 4-7 months to complete.  The organized and anal-retentive person that I am knew there was NO WAY it was going to take 7 months - if I had any say in the matter!  We were blessed with swift and efficient people who helped us complete our forms in a timely and accurate manner!  We are so thankful for people fitting us into their schedule, writing letters on our behalf at a moments notice, and for all the notaries that we visited! 

Before I even had the Dossier check sheet or even knew what it entailed - my goal was to have the Dossier done and submitted by my birthday - the last day in August.  I'm not sure why I chose then for my goal - I knew that it would be nice to have it submitted before school started back up so I didn't have to worry about it.  When I set that goal - the mental calculations of $ needed was not going to add up - there was NO WAY we were going to have the $$ we needed to send with the Dossier by the end of August.  Well, God is AMAZING and His plan always prevails.  As you know, our yard sale covered the rest of the $$ that we needed to submit with our Dossier.  We got our form that we were waiting for to submit our Dossier the week before I had to report for work.  We were able to ship off our Dossier to our agency right away and today - August 19th - is our official DTE - a mere 3 1/2 months from when we started!!!

Now the wait begins and I know this leg of the race will be more difficult than the last.  During the "paper chase" process I had control over how quickly we got things completed.  I made the phone calls, set up appointments, and nagged with reminders to ensure we got what we needed done quickly and efficiently.  Watching the young lady at the UPS store take our Dossier, place it in an envelope and drop it in a bin made me so nervous - there is so much future in that little package, so much hope and promise, so much represented.  As I passed our Dossier into her hands I experienced the stark realization that it is no longer in my hands...it never really was!  It has always been in God's hands - He knew long before we did that our family is not complete, and that He is not done with us yet.  Even though we were comfortable - He loved us enough not to leave us in our comfort but chose to open our eyes to see His people in a way that we never have before.  I await the day that I can SEE my sweet daughters face and look into her eyes and tell her everything is going to be ok - her mama is here.  Until then I know and trust that God has her in His care and protection.  He is preparing her heart just as He has been preparing ours, to become a forever family united together in love. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Piece of Paper - Great BIG Meaning

We have been waiting for close to 2 months to receive our approval from United States Customs and Immigration (USCIS) so that we could submit our Dossier(Adoption Paperwork) to Ethiopia!  We got home from camping yesterday afternoon and our Approval Page was in the mail!  I was so excited!  We got it notarized and copies made!  I drove into town today and shipped off our Dossier to our agent at America World.  She has to look it over - get a few things finalized and then it will be on its way!  We should be DTE(Dossier To Ethiopia) by next Friday August 19th!

I am so excited to be at this point but I am feeling a little nervous.  It seems so official and so real.  The next step we take is receiving a referral - which will be a picture, name and history of our daughter to be!  I know that God has chosen her for our family long before now - I trust that God will bring her paperwork to our paperwork and we will be chosen as a forever family.  This is the part in the process that will be difficult for me - and I can sense it already.  No control - no time frame - no say.  I truly have to Trust God and let Him lead her home.  I am anxious to see the journey that God brings our daughter on as well as the journey that God continues to take us on while we wait.

We were originally told to expect a 5-8 month waiting period from Dossier submission until a referral.  We were told it would probably be the shorter end of that time frame since we are requesting a toddler.  With the changes going on in Ethiopia, however, there has been some slowing down and not sure what to expect.  Families requesting toddlers in the last few months from our agency ranged from as short a wait as 4 months for a referral.  I know that God's timing is perfect  - everything so far has happened sooner than the expected time frame.  Home studies usually take 2-4 months - ours took 6 weeks!  Dossiers usually take 4-7 months - ours took 3 1/2 months!  I'm trying not to get my hopes up that a referral will come sooner than later - I am just holding on to the truth that God has her in His arms for now!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Living the Plan God Called

I found this video while Blog Stalking fellow adoptees.  Inspirational video of a young woman following God's calling for her life!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


My husband is a loving father and a caring husband but up until a few months ago was pretty focused on us and our needs, we both were.  God worked on His heart for over 18 months until Josh finally got up the nerve to tell me that he thought we should adopt.  God has opened our eyes and our hearts immensely for His people in need.  It is amazing how you can feel like a blindfold has been lifted and you can see God's people in an entirely new light - the need, the hurt, the love.  I was talking with a coworker a couple months back about how my husband doesn't have much of a sensitive side.  He isn't real sentimental or tender hearted.  She said, "Wait a second!  It was your husband's idea to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia and you are telling me he isn't sensitive!" 

Josh came home from town today and had been listening to the radio!  Air1 - a favorite Christian radio station in our home - was sponsoring a campaign to provide water filters to people in Rwanda.  One filter cost $55 dollars and would provide clean drinking water to 120 people for a LIFETIME!  There was no second thought - we went and sponsored a filter.  Josh said it was amazing how moved he feels for the hurt out there.  He didn't know if he liked it because it makes you aware of the pain and deep need there is for God's people.  I simply said "That's Compassion babe!"  It reminds me of the song - Give Me Your Eyes!  It is amazing what God can do in and through you when you take a second to look through His eyes!