Friday, December 11, 2009

So, it's been a while...

since the last post. I know. I kept waiting until I had something interesting to write about and have now realized the only thing that does is alienate those who are trying to walk through this with us from a distance. I'm sorry. We've hit a waiting time earlier than I thought...and it's, unfortunately, not a productive waiting time. It's not as if we are waiting on a referral, or for a court date, or for travel plans to be cleared up...we are waiting on emails and government offices and the postal service--just to finish our dossier. That's right. It's been this long and we are STILL not paper-ready.

The good news is that we are closer. We have every document completed except the employment letter and that, hopefully will be completed and emailed by next week. The next step for us is to send our home study to USCIS here in Rome, and mail all of our original documents to Georgia for the final compilation of our dossier. So today, Friday the 11th, will be devoted to printing out, signing, and addressing all of the mail that needs to go out and hopefully Monday we can get it all in the mail (that is, if we receive the employment letters by then). After this step, we don't know what's next. The dossier has many steps to go before we are cleared to wait for a far as we know right now, it has to be approved by two offices in the States and then submitted for translation, before it will be approved by Ethiopia. We are still so vague on the details. I know by the end of this we will be experts...

Thanks for checking back in. I'm not sure I will be great at updating when I have nothing to say, but I will try. And hopefully, very soon, we WILL have things to say :-). Be sure to keep praying for our daughter, we don't know her, but most likely she's been born or is soon to be...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So, we right after taking the kids to school this morning, we headed out to catch the trenino into the center. We knew the trains would be packed and they were. Fortunately, Judah still fits in the sling, so that's good news. We got to the Embassy at the appointed time...thankfully we weren't late--they are sticklers for that kind of thing. And thanks to some great advice from friends who had done the Embassy thing a couple of weeks before, we packed light and made it through security without a hitch. It took us an hour and a half or so to get all the fingerprints and papers filed...but they are FILED! That's one less thing that we have to do. All that is left on our list are the medical letters and Italian police clearance. We're working on figuring out how to get those completed.

Thank you for praying for things to go smoothly today--they couldn't have been better! We were back in our neighborhood by 12:15pm...CRAZY! We appreciate you all for how you support us with your prayers....I don't think we waited longer than 5 minutes for ANY train today (and we were on 6)...totally God! Praise Him with us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Home Study Interview is Finished!

So we've checked off the toughest part of our home study completion--the interview! Our social worker was super sweet and very relaxed and laid back so there was no pressure or awkwardness. Jared met her without a hitch at the airport and things got underway on time and we finished on schedule and she was back to the airport in plenty of time to catch her flight home to Germany.

So that's huge relief. She has already been working on the draft so she figured that once the police clearances come in and she's able to add them to the report, we should have our completed home study in a couple of weeks.

Please join us in praying for the paperwork to be collected speedily--we've mailed our police clearance form to OK from Rome and then they will mail the clearance to Jared's parents' house in Hollis and then Jared's parents will then turn around and mail the clearances on to GA to our agency and they will fax them to our Social worker in there are a LOT of steps that could easily get bogged down and add more time onto the waiting. So please pray against hang-ups.

When the Home Study is completed we will be finished with the first of three big steps in the adoption paper trail. The next step is to pass the USCIS approval...we go to the Embassy here in Rome on Wednesday morning at 10. Please pray that we are able to get in and out of the offices very quickly because it takes about an hour to travel there and we HAVE to pick our kids up by 2pm from school. Once our Home Study is completed, it will be submitted to USCIS and they, hopefully, will approve it quickly and then it can be added to the dossier. We're hoping to have a completed dossier by the end of October...we'll see!!

Thank you all for being faithful to pray for us on this journey...we are one step closer!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

the preparations are underway...

So, we are gearing up for a crazy day of cleaning and organizing so we can fully make room for that sweet girl who is closer to being ours.

Our social worker flies in tomorrow at noon and we'll spend a whirlwind 4 hours in interviews and paperwork shuffling an then she flies back to Germany at 7pm.

We've got great help offered from Taylor and Heidi who have volunteer to spend the day with our kids thankfully so that, hopefully, things can go more smoothly.

Please pray for us tomorrow. Pray that we will have quiet and peaceful hearts and that our minds are clear, enabling us to be articulate and genuine.

Thank you all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

just thought this was neat

I have been amazed at how many things are catching my eye now--always adoption it just me or does this seem to be a growing subject in the media and Hollywood?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

I know that some of you saw the photos on Facebook but I wanted to post them here too :-)

On my birthday (Saturday) the kids and Jared took me to an Ethiopia restaurant here in Rome...actually it's Ethiopian/Eritrean.

When we got there we asked our waitress if she could recommend a traditional Ethiopian dish for our family. She picked out the same dish but with two degrees of spiciness, a mild one for the kids and a more spicy one for the adults. She warned us that Ethiopian food was "hand-eating" food. (and then about halfway into the meal she brought forks--Iliana and Judah were excited about that--I really thought they would get a kick out of eating with their hands!)

The flat bread was a little more sourdoughy than I had expected and the food was WAY more delicious than I had was SO good!

Elijah really liked it,

Jared was sold on it, Iliana and Judah (and Elijah, of course) were ecstatic when our waitress brought a surprise plate of french fries toward the end of the meal...We really enjoyed our experience! I've looked up a couple of general recipe sites so that I can get a feel for ingredients in Ethiopian food...but I haven't settled on a recipe that I will be able to:

1. FIND all of the ingredients here
2. reproduce without help

Check them out! and and


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

just 'cause

So we had a little celebration for the home study date being set...they didn't know it, but Heidi and Taylor came over last night to help us celebrate :-) ...and we ate mexican and cheesecake (and the prototypes for Iliana's birthday cheesecake pops) and were festive :-).

Today we went to the beach and generally frolicked...then crashed for naps after lunch. I keep trying to picture our life with one the beach, as I was putting sunscreen on my little pale kids, I kept getting this picture in my mind of dark, chubby little arms and legs streaked with the lotion, and me, being able to tell when the lotion isn't quite rubbed in because of the obvious streaks left on the chocolate skin...I know it's not profound or anything but it made me teary, happy--and impatient.

We wait...God sustains us with little glimpses of her sweetness--reminding us to pray for our sweet baby girl...please don't forget to do the same...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home study date set!

In a little under a month, our social worker will fly into Rome and spend all day with us interviewing us and the kids, looking over our home and neighborhood, etc. She will come on Sunday, September 20th. So please be praying for us--that we will be able to represent ourselves and not be nervous... That the kids are able to be articulate when they need to be... That the kids will behave and not distract while the interview is going on.

We are very excited!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Medical forms...check!

So we both finally got our medical forms completed. Now we are trying to figure out how to get our police clearance and child abuse clearance...hoping to hear about those soon. I'm ordering a couple of cloth diapers this week to try them out and we've applied for a diaper will be many weeks before we find out about that--but it would be great if we got it!

We've found an Ethiopian restaurant in the center of the city so we are hoping to try it out really soon!

Short, but sweet...just a quick update--we're slowly moving along!

Monday, August 17, 2009

We finished it!

Not everything OF COURSE! But we finished the home study questionnaire and collected many documents and scanned them all to email them...I'm now working on how to get our criminal checks and child abuse checks done...then it's on to fingerprinting, etc. Neverending!!

It also looks like Jared and I will probably have to take a pre-adoption trip to Ethiopia. We were hoping to avoid this given the difficulty with child care, but the visa that would allow us to return to Italy within 30 days time with our daughter as an AMERICAN citizen and not an ETHIOPIAN citizen requires that we spend time with our child BEFORE the adoption actually takes place. I don't know when or how, but we need to do all that we can to secure this type of visa for her or we are looking at a very lengthy re-adoption process in the States.

It's all very involved and rather confusing. I love our social worker and coordinator...these women never complain at my inbox-filling ways.

Please be praying that details will fall into place with this second-trip-thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009


That's right, the Big Binder has arrived. I devoured it last night...then felt nauseous and ate a brownie to calm my nerves. If we hadn't realized it already, it was crystal clear last night: We Are Embarking On Something HUGE!!!

And, while a number of questions were answered by the BB, a bajillion more sprouted in amongst the pages. And our beautiful plans I shared in the last post...well, I'm not sure about ANYTHING anymore. I'm having SO much trouble wrapping my mind around all that needs to be done when we come back to the States. This is one of the many places I am so very thankful for our adoption coordinator. She is extremely helpful with all of these questions and never complains when I write her one email and then turn around and have to send her at least one more with questions I forgot to mention in the first.

I think my favorite parts of the binder were the pages that outlined in detail all that we would be doing in Addis Ababa when we go, and all of the packing lists for the trip.

Jared and I even went to IKEA to do a little crib-scouting and baby planning--that was WAY fun!

So, to sum up, we got the Big Binder, ate a brownie, answered questions, thought of questions, dreamed of Addis, and scouted for baby things...not too eventful, but a definite update!

P.S. There may be an opportunity for you to help during this process besides, of course, your prayers for us and baby girl. We will be collecting items to take to the care center in Addis and leave with them. Things like Infant tylenol, Mylicon drops, socks, shoes, blankets, bibs, etc. A lot of this we cannot get easily here, so we may be asking, if those of you in Hollis are so inclined, to collect a small duffle-bag full of things that we can take with us--then whomever comes to get our kiddos to take them to the US ahead of us, will bring us the bag and we'll take it on to Addis.

P.P.S Nothing is for sure in ANY travel the previous opportunity hinges on whether or not someone from Hollis will actually be coming to Rome before we go to Ethiopia. Please don't go out and start this project now. We have many, many months of waiting still. I was just greasing wheels by mentioning it :-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Still working on it...

I just can't believe how extensive the home study application/questionaire is! We are reviewing in detail our personal history, finances, discipline methods, seems endless!! All-in-all I think it's around 30 pages of forms!

So we are wading through this...hoping that this is the most extensive part of our application process--but we are probably fooling ourselves. All the government forms are yet to come--then there will be Embassy visits, government office lines, extensive correspondence with the States...yikes...I'm just going to turn my eyes back to the home study--that seems to be the most do-able right now.

We had a great time in Germany, but inevitably brought home a grouping of bugs we caught. It seems we are always dealing with small, strange sickness. So, as this again works through our family, we are using this in-house time to do as much as we can on our Process.

It's been good for Jared and I to sit down, once-again, and really review our parenting philosophies and discipline methods, our relationship with each other, our relationship with our kids, and our motivation to adopt. As I've been going through all of our insurance information and benefits with our company I have been encouraged and so thankful at the way we are taken care of--we've even found that we have adoption leave in the amount of 30 days--this is an extreme blessing, since we are looking at taking a massive trip in a few months!

That is something else that has changed as we've been reviewing what this is actually going to look like. We had initially thought that Jared and I could go to Ethiopia when it's time, leaving the kids with friends for the 5-7 day trip and then bring our daughter home to Rome before taking the big trip to the States 6 months later for citizenship proceedings. But now, we've found out that Italy has been known to turn children away on temporary visas because their citizenship is incomplete. You must be on American soil to complete the citizenship process and while we have up to 6 months to get this done according to US regulations, Italy does not always recognize this grace-period. So now we are looking at two scenarios: the first is to take the whole family to Ethiopia as well as, hopefully, a helper to watch the children while we are at our important meeting at the Embassy, and then going straight from Ethiopia to the US. The second scenario is, with the help of a 3rd party, we will send our older three on to the States from Rome while Jared and I head to Ethiopia alone, spend the 5-7 days collecting our baby and figuring out the legal matters and then go from Ethiopia to the States, stop in DC to obtain citizenship for 24 hrs and meet up with the rest of our family in OKC.

Both scenarios seem extremely difficult so begin praying for us now please...that God would orchestrate all the details and flights and people and money for this crazy event that will hopefully happen in 6-9 months!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Application has been received!

We just got an email from our agency saying that our application has been received and, I'm assuming, intact. It is now in process and they are sending the BIG SCARY BINDER--I always think of it in caps, don't know why, it just always carries this forboding with it...I guess all the paperwork and bajillion steps that are within lend themselves to the caps.

So we will wait for the BIG BINDER and follow the steps that are laid out in it...eek!

I've been talking with our home study company and, while we haven't set the date just yet, we are working on it!

We'll be gone to Germany from Aug. 1-7 so we'll have to pick up all of this when we get back (although we are thinking about lugging the laptop just in case we have a chance to finish the home study application in the evenings :-) )

Thank you for continuing to pray!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

a little more information...

So we don't really have any new news, of course--the application hasn't even crossed the ocean yet probably. But I thought I'd give you a rundown of who we are seeking at this point so you can better pray.

On the application we have noted that we are seeking a baby girl, from Ethiopia. At this time we haven't asked for any more than one child, but if the opportunity presents itself we are prepared :-)

Since we have asked for a baby and we are so early in this long, long process, she probably hasn't even been born yet. Maybe, but probably not--although she may be in utero at this time, so you can join us in praying for her birth mother and for baby girl's development in the womb.

Also, I have begun my study of Ethiopia...I found the Wikipedia article succinct enough to pass on to ya'll ( ) ...and did you know that people claim that Ethiopia was the birthplace of coffee??

...And I also didn't realize that the land of Cush is widely accepted to be Ethiopia...which is mentioned for the first time in Chapter 2 of Genesis when it is listing the 4 rivers that flowed from Eden. I love that! I thought I was living in an ancient city...and then I come across Ethiopia...WOW!!

Since the Lord brought us to Rome, I have loved all references to this city in the Bible...and now my heart is being drawn also toward Ethiopia, the birthplace of our fourth child and I find myself even more thankful for Phillip and his willingness to take the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch...this is how the gospel was first brought to Ethiopia!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So here we are, at the very beginning...again. We are finally starting the process...the long, intense process of adopting a child.

Our hearts have been yearning for this for so many years and this morning, Jared had the privilege of actually dropping our application, along with the sizable--non-refundable check into the Italian post office box. We pray that it reaches the one piece.

Please walk this journey alongside of us. We are full of anticipation for the time (~year?!?) ahead of us. We will use this blog to specifically walk through the process with you, our friends and family--you all have been so faithful to support us with your prayers and encouragement in our ministry--please continue to pray for this part of our life as well!!

We love you all!!