DTE Day....Finally

What a special day.....it is my parents anniversary, my dear friend Des' birthday and my DTE DAY! Yes that is right my dossier was shipped FedEx to Ethiopia today and from what I can tell this date will prove to be very important as we go through the waiting process. I actually have no clue what happens next exactly but I figure it has to be good that our paperwork is actually going to be in Ethiopia. I have got to read up on this next phase. It is an awesome feeling though to know that we are one step closer to having our son at home with us........I wonder if he is born yet, I wonder if he is an orphan yet, and I pray that somehow he knows in his little heart that I love him and am searching hard for him.

On a lighter note ...my sister sent me a very cute email about dusting (or why we shouldn't even bother) but at the end it had a statement that said
"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived." Thought it was sweet.


Smiling ear to ear

I have the greatest friends! I went for a walk with my friend Karen this morning and she mentioned making a comment on one of my blog post. Crazy me had not noticed that several of my posts had comments and as I went back through and read them I began to smile bigger and bigger. Karen and Jeanine your words are so encouraging and uplifting, I am very blessed to have you as friends and to have you praying for us. I don't know how to reply back to a comment you have made so the only way I know to thank you is to write a post about how great you both are!

There was also a sweet post from Kristi and a post from a "new friend" Lindsay. Lindsay I was so happy to hear from you and to hear that you are in this process with us. It would be wonderful if your family moved to Franklin....it is a nice city and the Ethiopian Fellowship group is the greatest. If your looking in this area you ought to check out Murfreesboro too.......just a little plug for my hometown. Please send me your blog when it is ready I would love to follow along on your journey.

Thanks again to all for the encouraging comments!


Sweet Caroline

What a great weekend we had. We went to Center Hill Lake with the Stalnaker family and they were so kind, sweet and generous. We had an incredible time and are very appreciative of their invite. By the time we got home it was too late to make it to our Ethiopian Family get together and although I really wanted to go I was probably trying to pack too much into one weekend - which Russ says I do all the time.

To explain the picture......although those who know Caroline will need no explanation....Caroline is very creative and enjoys picking out her own clothes. This outfit she has on is obviously a combination of several outfits - mostly hers but the sash is mine. I am not sure where she saw someone holding their baby this way but she must have because I have not had a baby sling (at least not yet). When she came downstairs I could not help but smile and wonder although we are ready for Africa - is Africa ready for us! I used to struggle with Caroline not having on one complete outfit but now I enjoy her uniqueness and smile at her creations (most of the time). Notice her cute little black baby doll she has in the sling - it's a little boy and she loves him.

Adoption update - WE RECEIVED THE I-171H FORM ON THURSDAY!!!! I made copies and sent them to America World and got an email this morning that they had received the copies. They will now do a second check over my ENTIRE dossier and if everything is o.k. they will take it to authenticate it at the Federal level and then over to the Ethiopian embassy. I am so excited and although I know the wait will be a challenge it feels very good to have the paperwork part done. I am hoping that the baseball, soccer and volleyball games that we have over the next several weeks will make it pass by a little quicker.

Blessings to all,


Following the Phillips

My dear friend Karen Phillips (who is also adopting from Ethiopia) has written the best post - I want you all to read it.


You will be blessed by taking the time to read any of her post but especially this one. It is my favorite, so far......


O.K. so I hope I am not the only one that when they hear this word thinks it is negative. I can't even help but say it with a little attitude:) So I was very surprised when I heard it was the theme for Brooke's Disciple Now retreat with her youth group. I was not sure how they would tie it to being a disciple of God. Me of little faith..........

Philippians 4:8-9 (English Standard Version)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

In church on Sunday the service was all about the weekend and gave us a glimpse of what the kids had experienced....it was so awesome and all we saw was a piece of it!

Update on the adoption front.........Dossier went to America World last Thursday and I found out today there were only one or two things needing a modification - YEAH! And yes I have already made the correction (we had not signed our passports). I also got an email from USCIS that said we should have "the form" by the end of the week!! If I can get it and get it turned around to America World by Monday then Caitlin (our family coordinator with America World) thinks they might can get it sent off by the end of next week. Things are moving.......slower than I would like....but they are moving.

Whatever it takes....


The Gala

The Orphan's Ticket Home Gala was Saturday night and it was such a great night. The event was very well done, music was nice but my favorite was a tie between Tom Davis' talk and Aster's talk. Tom Davis has written several books, is an adoptive dad and had a great message about how all 143 million orphans are God's children and that he loves them so much and he expects us to do whatever we can to help them, love them and save them.

He gave an example that if one of our children went missing, not only would we no longer throw away the mailers that say "Have you seen me?" but that he bet there was nothing we wouldn't do to save our child. We would be on every radio and TV station, we would sell all our possessions, we would do what ever it takes to bring our sweet child home. This is how God feels about his children who are suffering and he is waiting for us to do something about it. God gave us free will but his heart's desire is for all of us that know and love him to love the least of these.

There are so many good causes and God calls us to be champions for different causes but He is very clear that we are all to care for the orphans, widows and strangers.... That may not mean to adopt yourself but it is clear that we are all to do something.

My sweet sister went to the Gala to support me in my adoption and she also gave to support the Orphan's Ticket Home. She is an incredibly giving person and I am lucky to have her as my sister and friend. Love you Christy.......................


One more post today and I'll stop

Can you tell I am so excited I can't do anything but think, talk, type and blog about adoption?? O.K. I have finished another book that was recommended to me called A Treasury of Adoption Miracles and it was a great read. It is different stories and the true miracles that occurred in them not to mention the miracle of adoption in each of them. The last story is the author's story and she addresses a couple topics so well that I just have to mention them here.

She states.....People ask us about the transition. "How do you bring children into your home who have nothing in common with you?" "You have different skin colors, different cultural understandings, different languages - even different food preferences. We tell them with much prayer. You see, we knew going into this adoption that we would have different colors, countries and cultures. But we would have the same Christ and that, we believed, was enough. It was enough at the beginning, and it remains enough now. More than enough.

Our primary heritage is found not in our ancestors or family genealogies or birthplaces but at the cross, in Christ alone.

She then mentions another story which I have now heard 2-3 times in the past month with slightly different variations but it is one I love so much....

There's a story often told of a particularly rough storm that came up one night and left a sandy beach strewn with starfish. The next morning a child walked along the shore, stopping every few feet to pick up a starfish and fling it back to sea. An old man watched the child and finally shouted at him, "Why bother, son? There are too many starfish to make a difference!"

With that, the boy picked up another starfish and looked at it intently before heaving it out to sea. Then turning to the old man, he said, "It makes a difference to that one."

Karen Kingsbury ends with this - Adoption itself is a miracle.....Certainly our family has seen the starfish principle at work amid the miracles in our lives: Adoption makes a difference.

Please take just a minute and pray..........pray for the orphans and pray to know if you are being called to adopt.....you might get a surprising answer.

Praise God! Dossier is sent to America World

The day I have been waiting for..........(with a slight modification). Caitlin at America World, our adoption agency, told me I could go ahead and submit my dossier without the I-171H. I was so excited and relieved. This way she can be reviewing all the documents and then by the time she is done hopefully I will have the form and the whole package can be sent to Ethiopia. This just makes me feel like at least a little progress is happening instead of everything being totally stuck and not moving forward. I feel like we are getting closer to bringing our son home and I pray for him nightly. I do not know if he has been born yet or not and what his situation might be but I pray for him and for his mother. I yearn for him and I love him even though I have not seen him.

Now in case you would like to see a picture of what I have been doing for the past three months and groaning about on here I have posted a few pics of the paperwork and the FedEx package that was sent out today! There was really no way to answer the question of the value of what is inside......what do they say......priceless.

I still have to follow up with immigration and work diligently to get the form into my hands but this somewhat seemingly small step forward is like climbing Mt. Everest to me. Thank you all for your prayers.

Ups and Downs

Monday came and went without much to note in regards to the adoption and then Tuesday morning a great phone call. Mr. Rick Werhh, the ASC Manager (fingerprint place) called and said I actually only had to have a police letter from Murfreesboro! Yahoo----cause I already had it. I was so happy and went immediately and overnighted the letter to the Memphis office. I was thinking that things were finally breaking for me in regards to this form.

Then Wednesday....... a note from Memphis that said on page 2 of the application there was a place to date and sign and although we had both signed we had not both dated the document. Can you believe that.........they would not budge and are returning that page of the application to me via USPS regular mail. Once I receive it I will date it and then have to mail it back and then they will proceed with our application. They have had our application since June 1st and are just now noticing the date thing...........

O.K. so you can imagine my frustration and disappointment. But on Thursday it occurred to me that I could at least ask our family coordinator if since I had absolutely everything but that one sheet of paper (which we keep and they just get a copy of) could I go ahead and send the packet to her for review. Thank goodness she replied yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That means basically I could send in our Dossier - the moment I have been working towards for close to 3 months! Caitlin can't send our dossier to Ethiopia until we have the form but she can be checking our documents for anything else that may need to be revised, added, etc.

I am not sure if you can understand the pressure of the dossier unless you are doing or have done one but it is a huge project and one that I so bad have wanted to complete (for numerous reasons).

So I continue on my journey of ups and downs but when I put it all in perspective I realize I am a very blessed person....................................


Last Week - A test for me...

Last week I started the week anxiously awaiting the form from Immigration that is holding up our adoption. I was confident that it would come and ran to the mailbox Monday and Tuesday as though Santa Claus had visited. Reality - on Wednesday I decided to do whatever to try and actually reach a human at the USCIS office - to no avail. I did however, get an email of a person (who never identified themself) that was kind enough to at least reply back. My second set of fingerprints had been rejected by the FBI - what is up with that?? For some reason my fingers are not able to give readable prints. The FBI will only accept prints twice so now I had to move to the exception phase. The person emailed and said I not only had to go back to the USCIS office for a sworn affadavit but that I had to contact every police department in any city I had lived in since I was 18 and get a clearance letter/background check.

Now the frustrating part of this is a couple of things....wonder how long I would have had to wait to hear that I had failed the fingerprint test if I had not started calling and/or emailing. The second thing was that when I called Murfreesboro they said I should just get a report form TBI and that would show anything from the whole state........this would be great because I have only lived in the state of TN and I actually already had that piece of paper. But for whatever reason the Memphis office would not accept that. When I went in for the sworn affadavit the ASC manager who took my statement tried to help me out by saying he thought I only had to go back for five years however, Memphis would not accept his word that that was the law and he could not find it on-line to show them.

Next step contacting Memphis, Knoxville, Shelbyville and Murfreesboro police departments which proved to be a test of perseverance itself. But by Thursday at 6pm I had sent Knoxville's form (which had to be notarized) off to them, mailed Shelbyville a letter and sent Memphis a letter with a $20 money order. So now I must wait......................for the background checks to come back which I will then send to Memphis and hope that they will then send the paperwork to me so that we may get on the list to yes ...wait...........................

I strongly urge anyone who thinks they even might want to adopt to pray about it, pursue it and take the leap of faith but let me tell you that it is not a simple, easy or quick process. Granted neither is being pregnant and labor and delivery is not a party but this certainly isn't either. Thank goodness the gift is GRAND!

I really don't like to publish post that are complaining or whiney in nature but for anyone in the process I think it helps to know others have struggled and not everything just falls into place without determination. Keep moving forward and don't give up...............tears of frustration will turn to tears of joy - I just know it!

Happy Birthday Russ!

This past weekend (7/31 to be exact) was Russ' birthday. We celebrated the entire weekend and had lots of fun family time. You will see pics below. I am so thankful to have a wonderful husband who loves me enough to trust me, believe in me and yes put up with me. We have been through a tremendous amount in 16 years but because of our love for the Lord we have weathered the storms and come out stronger. Russ is an incredibly hard worker, an incredible dad, son, uncle and husband. Depending on how far down you have read in my post you will know that adopting was on my heart before it was on Russ'. Although I have no doubt Russ will be in love every bit as much as me with our son - his love for God and for me is what got him to the point that he was willing to take a leap of faith and start this amazing journey! If you can't tell I love him very much and feel very blessed that God brought us together - then let me say "I love you, Russ". Our days are not all filled with sunshine but they are filled with love.............