Saturday, July 28, 2007

Checkin' Out!

We are checkin' out of here for a few days. Some family of some dear friends of ours have opened their home to us in Tennessee. It's been a long, long while since we've ventured off on a vacation, other than visiting grandparents. Our kids can hardly wait to see the mountains! It should be a very wonderful and relaxing time since we'll not be all smooshed into a hotel room for a week. :) On the way, we'll be making some stops. There is a wonderful hotel chain that gives a complimentary room to ministry families. We get to go to TWO of them on the way and better yet they are only 3 hours apart ... which translates into leisurely travel and clearance shopping that day!! ... and much swimming time for the kiddos.

We just received our "Gladney Approval" which means we're one step closer on our adoption journey. We are still waiting for FBI clearance, CIS approval and passports to arrive. And ... when we get back we have to get a pile of paperwork re-notarized and sent off with the final documents we are waiting on. You can pray that all of our paperwork will arrive by the time we return ... that'd be awesome!!

We are looking forward to a break from the fund-raising and just enjoying our kiddos and making some wonderful memories together. Be watching for some beautiful photographs along our way. Camera card is empty, so I'm good to go for a few hundred! :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

As we work through the finalization paperwork woes we are going through ..... we pause and remember the "why" in what we're doing. This video/song by Steven Curtis Chapman reflects our hearts so much. It is a song that recognizes the realities of the orphaned and shares the beautiful hope that can come through love. As much as we love this child we have yet to meet ... the Lord's love is greater still ... and so we trust that everything He began will come to completion. We appreciate your prayers for our family .... all 7 of us. Thanks

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paperwork Woes

Bad news is we found out that all the paperwork we had notarized at our bank now has to be redone. Good news is we have a day to do it before we leave for TN. Just felt like a hard bump in the road today. We are grateful for an amazing team in our adoption agency and the person helping us getting everything authenticated. As I was at the bank the other day I said to the lady ... "the paperwork we went through to buy our house was nothing in comparison to this"!!! Something that Eugene Allison, the founder of the Abba Fund said to me just keeps coming back as a constant reminder and encouragement ..... "These children have worth and they are WORTH working hard for!!". That is so true. Whether it is fund-raising, or going back to redo a big pile of paperwork .... it is nothing in comparison to the needs of the child God is bringing into our family. What joy it will be to experience that glorious day .... when we get to see this little person face-to-face.

The notarizing along with a few other paperwork glitches are in the process of being fixed. We'd appreciate your prayers as we work through these obstacles.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Playing the Game and Finishing Well!

It's been awhile ... where have we been? ... baseball games! Josiah just finished up the season yesterday in the near 100 degree weather! If that weren't enough ... it took 7 innings, rather than their usual 4 for someone to even score! (that's how close it was!!!) They came away placing second and represented their team very well. We spent much time watching teams and coaches interact this summer. We came away feeling extremely blessed to have such a wonderful coach instilling so many great lessons of life and character into these kids. He created such a strong sense of "team" in these young boys. They learned to depend on each other, encourage one another and work together. We have really enjoyed getting to know Josiah's coach and hope to continue to have a great relationship with him, as he's only 2 blocks away.

There have been many parallels between Josiah's ballgames and our lives. If you regularly read our blog, you'll notice I often compare our journey to a race. Sometimes it feels though like last night's game .... inning after inning, no budging to get forward. There are times we feel "struck out" ... as in the case of the "great paper war" with a doctor this last week. Sometimes we feel dehydrated, like in that 90+++ degree weather this last 3 game tournament. Sometimes we lose perspective of the big picture ... and it's the chatter of friends that keep us going. Just like Josiah's teammates and how their encouragement matters so much for each player to do well .... we need our teammates so very much. So often we hear from a special "teammate" at the perfect timing .... we see that as no coincidence. :)

We're working hard to finish compiling every piece of paper needed to go to the person helping us with authentication of our dossier. We are waiting to get our FBI clearance packets, CIS approval and passports yet. Those will all be added to the dossier. We'd love to see our dossier in the hands of the Ethiopian government by the end of August.

Sunday we head out on a very LONG adventure to the mountains of Tennessee. Months ago when someone so graciously offered their place to us, we had no idea how much we'd need it right now. It's time to step away and regroup ... both in our family and our ministry. We are looking forward to time to just reconnect and build some wonderful memories together. We are also on the hunt for a larger vehicle as we pass through big cities. We are upsizing to a full-size van. I personally would like to get something inbetween, but for the money, this is a far better option.

As we near the end of the paperwork process, we will need to pick up the pace of the Stamp a Child Home project. While we've made great strides towards our goal ... we have far to go. We are trusting God to work out every detail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Compiling our Dossier! (and a new friend!)

Naomi met a new friend this week at the baseball game! She and Elijah are quite a pair. Perhaps someday she'll sit well for me to do her hair like Elijah's big sister who is absolutely gorgeous by the way. :)

Well, If all the paperwork to the our US placing agency, in addition to our homestudy isn't enough .... now it's time to compile all of the documents for our dossier. Those of you fellow adopting families reading can understand this undertaking. For our friends and family who haven't adopted, you might find the below list interesting. These are all the things that have to be done just for the dossier part of our adoption, which is all the paperwork that will go to Ethiopia. There it will be translated into their language and then the referral process begins. After much contemplation, we decided to hire KBS Dossiers to do the authentication part of our dossier. Since we have not done this before (international adoption) we are unsure of just how each piece must be done .... but what we do know is if there are errors, it won't pass through. We are grateful to have been in contact with Kate at KBS Dossiers. Not only does she come highly recommended, but she clearly knows this process well and is very attentive to the families she is working with. So ... after we pick up the last of our medical reports today, we'll be sending everything we have so far off to her! It has been our goal to have our part of the paperwork completed before leaving for TN the end of the month.

*A written statement from the adoptive parents stating why they want to adopt from Ethiopia

*Certified birth certificates for each parent

*Certified marriage certificate

*FBI clearance letter for each parent


*Homestudy agency license

*Homestudy preparer's license

*Employment/self employment/homemaker letter

*Proof of life and health insurance

*Financial statement

*Bank letter

*Copies of passports

*3 reference letters

*2 passport size photos for each parent

*Power of Attorney (basically this says that we give Gladney's in country rep. permission to go before the courts on our behalf)

*Medical certificate for each parent

*CIS approval letter

*A post-placement agreement from Gladney

*Family photos

I'm sure some still wonder WHY all of this? ... especially after reading the list for the dossier. Well, a friend at the Abba Fund said it so clearly in relation to our fund-raising efforts yesterday. He said that these children have WORTH ... and they are worth all of this hard work!!! So simple and so true. We are so eager to have all this "work" behind us and go on to meet the child that God has led us to all these months. It's amazing how things are coming together. Once the paperwork is completed, we can put our focus onto the Stamp a Child Home project and not be trying to juggle quite so much. We are also really looking forward to our upcoming travels to Tennessee!!! The timing could not be more perfect to be able to break away for awhile and just spend time as a family!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Busy Week of Blessings!

LOTS to fill you in on! First of all I want to share a blessing concerning our oldest son. He just got a new job! He has prayed a long time about his future and that he'd know what job he was to do in preparation for that. Well .... it all came full circle last week. He is now working for a wonderful man learning to do custom fencing. When they aren't fencing, he'll be helping him in other ways such as roofing, and other miscellaneous farm work. Colton could NOT be happier. If all goes well for both of them, this will turn into a long-term arrangement. His new boss is a great guy ..... very devoted to his family, shares many of the same values in life, etc. Colton is thoroughly enjoying his time with Mr. Troy. David is also getting to work some, which is a huge blessing as he's without his second job right now til school starts back up. Colton's first goal is to raise his part of his plane ticket to travel to Ethiopia with us. We are SO grateful that he'll be going with us to see a land and people that have been on his heart for a very long time. Will write more on that at another time.

We were blessed to attend a special adoption event hosted by our local Family Christian Bookstore on Tuesday! They wanted to meet some area families who have adopted and celebrate the lives of the children represented because of the James Fund project they do. It was such a meaningful morning! Naomi was crazy about a little girl that was born in Vietnam who was just learning to walk. Our social worker was helping with the event and any time that we get with her is always a treat!

Then I came home to the new shipment of stamps and accessories!! I had just about a day to get things ready for my open house. The open house went wonderful yesterday. I got to spend time visiting with various customers who have become dear friends. It was such a leisurely day and couldn't have been better.

We are leaving on a trip the very end of July .. so for the next two weeks, you know where I'll be ... seeing just how much can be accomplished til we must pack up.

Wednesday we got our CIS fingerprints done. That all went well with one "funny". The gentleman was having trouble getting my prints to turn out ... he said ... "What kind of work do you do mam?". I wasn't sure how to "take" his question. Turns out he asked if I wash my hands a lot ..... uh, YEAH!, I'm always washing/cleaning/stamping/washing/cleaning on and on it goes as a mom of a busy household. Too funny!! I hope they pass through okay.

Our homestudy has been proofed by our placing agency now and as soon as we have our TB tests done this next week that part will be completed!! We want everything done on our part before we leave on our trip on the 29th ... YIKES!, that isn't far off! The next time we pack after that should be to Ethiopia. We cannot wait!

We so appreciate all of your prayers and support through this journey. We never could do this alone.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Miracle of Adoption

This is a powerful video of another family who has experienced the miracle of adoption. To us it is also a beautiful testimony of what can happen when people work together.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Our paperwork made it safely to Gladney on the second attempt. We only have 3 more items that they need to finish processing everything. One of them is pictures. I know .... who would have thought that's the part I've struggled with organizing! We also need pics for our dossier paperwork. A combination of things have held up the progress with getting pics done and having them all organized and labeled. Either someone was in need of a haircut, or someone was a ball practice, or I was trying to meet a SaCH order ... or was just too wiped out to get everyone ready for family pics. Slowly but surely I've been saving up photos and will have everything printed on Tuesday when we go to town. Then my plan is to have them compiled and completed by Friday. For some reason it seemed easier to compile pictures for Naomi's adoption. We were putting it altogether for her birthmom to see and so that's who the receiver would be and I knew what I wanted to include and what I wanted to say. Sad thing is, I don't believe Naomi's birthmom ever even saw our packet that we so careful prepared for her. But that is a whole other story to write some day .... maybe.

Anyway, this time the "receiver" of the photos are the officials in Ethiopia. Somehow in pictures and captions we are to tell them about us, show them our home, tell them why we want to adopt a child from their country and how we plan to keep their heritage alive. This will all be translated into their language.

To complicate things we moved last year into a major "fixer-upper" home and I have yet to get an outside angle that doesn't show a very unfinished view! Progress we have made, but new windows and doors leave behind a siding mess and we aren't to the point of repainting yet.

We will be so glad to have our part of the paperwork completed. We are grateful for a wonderful team in our agency and social worker to help us along the way.

Tuesday we'll be in Fargo for a special adoption program that is being put on by Family Christian Bookstores to raise awareness for their James Fund (the bears that can be purchased and sent to orphans). We are so happy to get this opportunity. They have a full morning planned of activities and hope to have the media there to raise interest to further this project. Our social worker from the agency that did our homestudy will be there helping as well. Should be a wonderful day! Then Wednesday morning we go BACK into Fargo bright and early for fingerprinting appointments!! That'll be one more thing we can mark off the list.

The photo pictured above was taken on the 4th of July by the flowers that our neighbor labors over continuously. We get to enjoy their beauty outside of our window each and every day! ..... nice neighbors, huh?!! :) She does an amazing job each year.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

We wanted to include a link to this article by Owlhaven on poverty around the world. We encourage you to read it. This author has been a huge source of information and encouragement to us as we prepare to travel to Ethiopia to bring home our child. I believe that as Americans we are so blinded to what poverty really is. We often fear learning, because that won't make us feel good inside. As we assessed our family's resources entering into this next adoption ... we realize that by the American culture's standards, we may not have a lot of luxuries. But as we think about the child God is bringing into our family and their culture and homeland .... we have so much to give. I'm not talking merely monetary things. You see, for the most part, as Americans we are so rich and spoiled that it's like our own disease. Always going, always buying .... we are left ignorant of what really matters in this life. It's not just money that will change the shocking realities of poverty. There are children that need a home, yes they need healthy meals and medical care ... but they need something even greater ... they need the love of a FAMILY. They need to know they belong. Many of them have lost their parents due to illness and disease ... parents that they deeply loved. Because of lack of medical care ... another thing we take so for granted here in the US ... they are left with no family.

Our children wait expectantly to meet their new sibling. They long to give them all they have to offer. Someone to read a story, learn to throw a ball ... a strong shoulder to cry on when they realize this world is not perfect and there is a part of them that misses their homeland greatly. Our family is not perfect ... we have our share of imperfections as anyone does. We can not do nearly as much as we desire to make an impact on the lives on the orphaned ..... but we must do what we can do ... and for right now, that is bringing home another child and sharing everything we have with them. We firmly believe that every child, no matter where they are born ... deserves the love and stability of a family. We long to see our child's face, to hold them and whisper to them that everything is gonna be alright.

We encourage you to read the article above. Just click on the word poverty and it will take you there.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


We were blessed by a special day with friends today! Good food and fellowship, doesn't get much better than that when sharing it with friends. The kids enjoyed fireworks they had purchased and then we all went to our local small-town fireworks display, which is fabulous! A long and wonderful day .... a welcomed change from assembly lines of cards. :) We are so grateful to live in a country blessed with so many freedoms.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Great Mail Frustration!

So, we couldn't figure out where on earth our paperwork to Gladney had gone! This would be the big batch of paperwork they are waiting for to process our adoption. While they were looking for it .... today's mail came ..... wahlaaaaa! .... RETURNED, for NO reason. Address correct, checked it 3 x's! So ... it's back in the mail and hopefully this time Mr. Postman will deliver it. What might not seem like a big deal to some .... this was a big discouragement to us. So much had already had to go in place to get to this point. Now it's been running around in the postal system and because of the holiday week, will not get there quickly. UGH.

While we wait for all this, we are working hard on our dossier paperwork. I am also cleaning out stamping supplies and organizing and getting ready for my upcoming Open House.

Would appreciate your prayers for the paperwork to arrive to it's proper destination this time. Thanks!