In My Daughter's Own Words

A brand new experience…

(my fingerprints, to be sent to the FBI for a criminal background check)

(the fancy scanning machine…they no longer use purple or red or blue ink)

If you are wondering what on earth I did to deserve fingerprinting…it was not the heat of a ridiculously warm May driving me to commit crimes (even minor ones). In fact, the fingerprint session goes with wonderful news.

My family is in the process of adopting 2, or possibly 3, children from Ethiopia! The first minor bit of paperwork is done, but there is lots ahead. Fingerprinting is part of the criminal background check for all family members over the age of eighteen.

Please pray that the process goes smoothly and that God blesses us with 2 (or 3) wonderful children. There is such an incredible need…between 5 and 6 million orphans in Ethiopia. I am so proud of my parents for deciding to bless orphans with the love they have given to me and my brothers and sisters.

As an aside, finals and papers went well. God was very kind in both sustaining me through a gauntlet of two crazy weeks and helping things to turn out well. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. Have a wonderful summer!

Invitation to an Ethiopian Goat Festival!

We have some friends, the R’s, in our town who have friends from Ethiopia. Each year their Ethiopian friends host a Goat Festival at the R’s home and people from many countries attend. The R’s told us about the festival and we said we would love to be included. I really tried to restrain myself from pleading for an invitation.

So, this Sunday afternoon we will be attending a Goat Festival for the first time and meeting some Ethiopian people! We are very excited about this opportunity to begin exploring our children’s culture and to make some contacts with Ethiopian people. It would also be nice to have help learning some basic Amharic phrases commonly used with children, “Do you need to go potty?” would be particularly useful!

I’ll try to take lots of photos and post them for you all to enjoy.

Thank you for reading!

Profuse Paperwork

(Disclaimer – added December 1, 2007. We no longer recommend CWA. If you have questions regarding this, please email me. I hope to post something about this in the future.)

After doing our research we made the decision to use the same agency our friends, the Barrs had chosen, Christian World Adoption. We chose them because we wanted to work with a Christian agency who shared our beliefs and values. We also chose them because their Ethiopia program is new which is resulting in shorter wait times for children and lower fees.

In addition to choosing an adoption agency, we had to choose a Home Study agency that is licensed in the state of Idaho. We are using CASI Foundation for Children.

Once those two decisions were made the paperwork began to roll in. CWA has an excellent iplanner for parents who are in their program which has pages upon pages of information about how to prepare the dossier that is sent to Ethiopia. My all time favorite part of this iplanner is the checklist! It feels great to check off a document once I have it in my hands. It is getting to be an impressive stack of documents including letters from our bank, letters from the local Police Department, tax documents, birth and marriage certificates, and more.

In addition, CWA provides a webgroup for parents adopting from Ethiopia and the people there have been a great source of information for answers to questions such as, “To whom should our letters of reference be addressed?”, or “How many copies of my marriage certificate do I need to order?”, or “What gifts should I take to Ethiopia for the staff at the orphanage?” The best posts are the ones from people who are getting ready to travel to pick up their children or have just returned. I almost feel that it is all going to come true when I read these posts.

Progress on our dossier is going well. We still need to write a letter to the Ethiopian government explaining why we want to adopt children from their country. I have to prepare a set of five family photos taped to sheets of paper with identifying captions. Then I need to attach a cover sheet with the statement, “These are true pictures of our family” and have it notarized. We sort of chuckle over that one.

At present we have completed 100% of our paperwork for our home study, including taking an online adoption training course. Our home visit went very well and our social worker is great. The children enjoyed talking to her about the adoption and we felt very comfortable throughout the evening. She hopes to have a rough draft to us within two weeks – which is quite impressive. I told her I have complete faith in her ability to do it.

The next big step will be applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, so I’ll be sure to keep you all posted. As soon as we have our completed home study in our hands, we hope to be off to Yakima (three hours) to submit our application and be fingerprinted.

Thank you for reading!

How One Phone Call Changed Our Lives

My children have been trying to convince me to start a blog for weeks – maybe months – but I have resisted pleading a complete lack of spare time – and I don’t mean a spare hour, I mean spare minutes. However, we are in the midst of one of the most exciting adventures of our lives and in order to keep all of our family and friends abreast of our progress, I’ve decided to join the world of bloggers.

Several months ago I was praying and thinking about my life and how it seemed to be in a place of relative calm, relative because I am a homeschooling mother of seven, but things seemed to be ticking along quite nicely and it felt good. I began to ask God, “What more do you want me to do for you. What more do you have for my life?” I didn’t intend to give up what I was doing, namely loving my husband, homeschooling our children, and managing my home, but my youngest had just turned three I was about to graduate my second daughter from our homeschool and it just seemed that there might be more to consider.

Then on February 14th, my dear friend Emily called to tell me that they were in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia. Little did I know that this conversation was the beginning of the Lord’s answer to my prayer. I could not get the conversation out of my mind. I began to read about Ethiopia and the incredible AIDS orphan crisis and my heart broke for the millions of orphaned children. Then Russ went on a trip to Mexico to visit his parents and while he was flying home he read two of the articles I had printed for him. You can find them here: What Will Become of Africa’s AIDS Orphans and Hope Lives Here.

We read more and researched more and shortly after Easter we made the life changing decision to pursue adopting our own little ones from Ethiopia. Although I was ready to jump right in on paperwork, I knew that once I started I would not be able to stop. So I set it aside, finished my school year, and planned a wonderful graduation ceremony for our daughter and her friend.

Once those events were over I dove into paperwork and for two weeks worked like crazy to accomplish as much as possible. God’s kindess has been evident every step of the way. It has been a help to live in a small community where people are easy to reach and glad to help. I’ve read of people who have waited two months for letters from their doctors, ours took one week. Others have waited a month for their criminal history check, again, ours took one week.

Thank you for reading. More to come.