Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!! (well, almost :)

It will be a new year in just a few short hours :) We look forward to seeing when in this new year we will be bringing baby Caleb home!! For now, we are continuing to wait for our 171 form to be approved by USCIS.

Here is the newest update:

The first group of families who received their referrals in October will be traveling the last week in January to pick up their children. Yippeeeee!!!

The second group of families unfortunately has not received word on when their court dates will be...this of course if very frustrating for them. Hopefully they will hear something before the end of the week!!

We are praying that referalls will begin coming soon for the families who have been waiting several months. A few families are approaching the six month mark of waiting for a referral. This is six months since their dossier has actually been in Ethiopia.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Some News....

Just when I reported no news.....I heard back from an AW employee ( I actually spoke with her on the phone) with some answers....not all questions are answered, but some were, for which I am very grateful.

First of all,
-There are a total of around 130 families in the Ethiopia program through America World

-There are 35 families with dossier's in Ethiopia (families currently waiting for a child)

-On average, 2 dossiers per week go to Ethiopia.

No concrete answers were given on when the current set of families could expect to travel, or when the second set of families would receive their court dates, or why this was taking longer than usual.

Time estimations are still in check for referrals, as the wait should be no longer than 6 months once dossier is in Ethiopia

Also, from court date to travel date is supposed to take no longer than 3-5 weeks.

An exact time frame was not given for referral to court date, but no more than 1 court date should occur in most cases, though things happen from time to time.

I think I feel somewhat better now about what is going on, though I know that it isn't much consolation for the families waiting for their children.

I do feel assured that AW is working as hard as they can for us, and that we can trust them as our representatives.

No News.....

Unfortunately, there is no new news for this week. The families that made it through court last week still have not heard about a travel date. And, the second group of families who received referrals in October have not heard any news in regard to their court dates. As you can imagine, this is frustrating for all parties involved!
I have sent an email to America World that addresses some of these issues, along with some other issues that I have some concerns about. Hopefully they will respond with some answers! We know they are working hard on our behalf.

In the mean time, we will continue to pray for the AW staff, for all families involved, and especially for all the children waiting to come home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Please Pray for the Carpenter Family

Please pray for the Carpenter family. Unfortunately, their court date was unsuccesful today- they aren't sure why, but they think it was a glitch in the paperwork. They now have a 4th scheduled court date of Dec. 28th. This is such sad news, and they are so dissapointed, as you can imagine. They are such a precious family.

Families are through Court!!

Praise be to God...the families made it through their court dates successfully today!! The David's already have pictures up of their gorgeous daughter! Congrats to all the families!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I never thought this day would come!! Yesterday, I officially sent our homestudy on its way to USCIS!!

Monday afternoon when I got home from work, I found one of those little postcards in our mailbox that lets you know you have something to pick up at the post office.....and guess was our homestudy!! I was kind of bummed because I knew I couldn't get to the post office before they closed at 4:30...but alas, I looked again at the card, and....they close at 5!! So, I grabbed our dog, and flew to the post office.

I got there, and the line was of course backed out of the building!! I thought I wouldn't make it to the counter before they closed, but all of a sudden an employee emerged and asked if anyone had a postcard for a pickup....I raised my hand and shouted, "me!" :) They moved me to the front of the line, and they took my card...I was just praying that the envelope was back there somewhere......a few minutes later, the lady came back with my envelope in hand!! It was great!!

I walked out the building thinking, "thank you Lord!" and when I got back in the car, I just had to sit and cry! I was so relieved to have that thing in my hands...finally!! Never did I imagine having to wait over two months for it! I knew we were one step closer to having Caleb home!!!

So, it should be arriving at USCIS today. The last time we checked, the average processing time was between 40-65 business days...pray for a Christmas miracle....maybe we will get it sooner than we think!

Once we get their approval, we will be ready to send the dossier!

In the mean time, we will be having all our notarized documents certified and authenticated at the local and state levels.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Lunch with the Bowmans!

Saturday we got to meet another AWAA family adopting from Ethiopia! We met Chad & Karen Bowman for lunch in Lexington! It was great getting to talk to them face to face, and not just thought email! Most likely, we will be traveling with this fine family, as we are just about in the exact same stages of the adoption process. We had a great time.

By the way, we should be receiving our homestudy in the mail TODAY!!! If we do, I will be running to have it notarized, and will try to have it sent back to USCIS before this praying! I will keep you updated!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Status Update

Many folks have been asking us "What is going on with the adoption ?!?"

In general, the adoption process in Ethiopia has slowed down! This is due to many factors. One reason for the slow down is the explosive growth of adoptions from Ethiopia in general. This growth, coupled with the Ethiopian court system, which is just simply understaffed, leads to less cases getting through. The families in our agency who had received their referrals in October are already on their second scehduled court day, as their first day they were unable to get through. The first group of families who have received referrals now have court dates scheduled for this Friday, December 7th. The second group will not receive court dates until the first group gets through successfully. From my understanding, the court problem also leads to a longer waiting time for referrals, though this seems to be up to the discretion of the particular agency in some cases (this is just my understanding). In other words, until other families have actually gotten through court and traveled to pick up their children, no other children will be referred to waiting families. The transition home that our agency has established for children who have been referred to families holds around 14 children (maybe a few more), so most likely, there will be no more than 14 children waiting for their parents to get them at one time.

I hope I haven't confused everyone with all this info!!!!

For us, this means that when we do eventually submit our paperwork to Ethiopia, we could be waiting longer than we expected, probably into the summer or fall months for our referral. Our goal was to have our paperwork to Ethiopia by the end of December, and to expect a referral sometime in the spring, but due to circumstances beyond our control, this goal is no longer possible. We are now shooting for the end of February, at the latest, to have our paperwork finished. Hopefully it can be in Ethiopia by March.

Where we are at right now, today: We are still waiting for our final copy of our homestudy to send to USCIS. Hopefully, we will be receiving it this week. Once we send it to USCIS, and we receive our approval from them, we will be sending our paperwork to our agency headquarters, and they will eventually send it to Ethiopia. When Ethiopia receieves our paperwork, our wait to be matched with our son officially begins!

These time frames are of course estimates. It is very hard to know when everything will happen, but for now, it is safe to say, things are on a bit of a slowdown.

This was a bit hard for us (especially Rebecca) to take at first, but we do trust that God has this all in his hands, and God knows what he is doing....he has known all along! We just continue to pray for Caleb, and for all the families in the adoption process. It is hard to believe we have already been in the adoption process for four months now! Hopefully the next four will go by just as fast....

I have copied a wonderful post from another AWAA family's blog. It really spoke to me on one of my "down days". I hope it will speak to you as well.

The Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh?'" Genesis 18:13 NIV

You'll laugh again!

In Genesis 18:13-14 we read: "The Lord said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord?'" Then in Genesis 21:2 we read: "Sarah became pregnant and bore a son...[and] said, 'God has brought me laughter'" (Ge 21:2-6 NIV). But between the first and the last laugh Sarah went through a wrenching time of disappointment and heartache. The 'love of her life,' Abraham, betrayed her to save himself. Abimelech, a heathen king, took her to his harem and would have slept with her had God not stepped in to rescue her. Yes, like Sarah, between the first laugh and the last you'll do a lot of growing. You'll celebrate your good times and pray for grace to survive your bad ones. Some days you'll feel like you can't go a step further, yet through it all you'll learn to trust God more than you ever dreamed possible.

Here's an important thought: when you share your story with others don't just tell how you started or where you are today, tell them what God brought you through. Why? For those are the things they are struggling with too! King Abimelech's tent was in Gerar, which means the halting place. There will be times when you'll feel as if your life has come to a complete halt; like you're getting nowhere. Maybe that's where you are today. If it is, please know this - God will be faithful to you! Not only will He bring you through, but like Sarah, you'll laugh again as you watch Him fulfill His promises in your life!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend Update!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend! Spending time with the family was great as usual, and the food seemed to be extra good! We especially enjoyed playing with the kids, as we thought about what it would be like to have Caleb home with us. This year's favorite game was locking Zack & I in "the dungeon" (my grandpa's closet).

Friday and Saturday, we worked at Sights and Sounds of Christmas, an annual craft show that is held at the community center where I work. This year, we were given the opportunity to host the concession stand and take Santa photos, with all the proceeds going toward the adoption and the adoption ministry we are trying to start! This was an unbelievable opportunity, and we really could not say "thank you" enough to our good friend Debbie for giving us the opportunity! Also, thanks to Doug for being Santa (he was an awesome Santa, as you can see from the pic), to my parents for all their hard work and willingness to help however they were needed, to the Hampton family for their delicious chili and for spending all day Friday in the concession stand, to my cousin Kelly for the awesome home made pies, to sweet little LaDara, who just loves to serve others, and for my great friends who stopped by for moral support (thanks Tiffany, Tennille and Lori)! And of course, thanks to everyone who contributed to the event by buying food or having a picture with Santa! It was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun! In the end, we raised around $800!!

We can take a break from fundraising for a while now (until January), and hopefully concentrate on paperwork. We are still waiting for AWAA's Kentucky Office homestudy license renewal to come in, so we can get our homestudy sent to, for now, we are just waiting and praying. Keep praying with us, and for baby Caleb!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some Thoughts about being Thankful....

This past Sunday we had a community wide Thanksgiving service at our church. The speaker was a missionary to Chile, and has been for over twenty years. She spoke about how thankfulness was really an attitude- you can either choose to have a grateful attitude, and realize how much God has blessed you, or you can choose to have a negative and selfish attitude, and think about "how bad you have it".

This message really hit home for me, as over the last several weeks, at times, I have had a negative attitude towards the slow pace of the adoption, and some of the hold-ups- I have thought, why does this process have to be so long and complicated (and expensive :) . Thankfully, God has sent me reminders (like I should really need them :)in my life, and allowed me to remember all the blessings he has showered on my life, so that bad attitude never lasts too long....

Thankfulness is an attitude- Our speaker reminded us of all the heroes of the faith who chose to have a thankful heart, despite their circumstances (and their circumstances were pretty rough): Paul, David, Moses, etc.....pretty amazing, isn't it!

So, this Thanksgiving, I am trying to approach thankfulness with a new outlook, and a new attitude!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ"

1 Thes. 5:16-18

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Candle Fundraiser Has Concluded!

Today the candle fundraiser concluded! Through this fundraiser, we were able to raise a little over $400 for the adoption! Praise the Lord! I am especially thankful to my friend Beth who presented the opportunity to us, and to all those who worked hard at selling the candles, and of course, to those who bought them...thanks so much! Also, thanks to Debbie for allowing me to have a table at the women's conference the last two weekends (which by the way, the conference was awesome!!!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

In Honor of National Adoption Month

This video was made by a member of our AWAA Yahoo Group in honor of National Adoption is really awesome!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Donations for Transitional Home In Ethiopia Needed!

Hey everybody! Just got this email from Laurel, our family coordinator. If you would like to help, please read, and contact me via email: Thanks!

Dear AW Ethiopia Families,

We are excited and pleased to be able to announce that the new America World transition home in Ethiopia is up and running. Last week the first 13 children, who were recently referred to families were moved from Kids Care to the America World home. The home has been equipped with all the major needs and staff have been hired, trained and are providing loving care. There are still many things needed to help make the home a nurturing and stimulating environment for your prospective children as they wait the arrival of their parents. Therefore, we are writing to let you know of some of these needs and how you could help meet them, if you desire to do so.

America World employee Rachel (Duckworth) Ward and her husband will be making a 10-day trip to Ethiopia before their official move there at the end of January 2008. So if you would like to donate items for use at the transition home, please have them mailed to or dropped off at the America World--Tennessee office by close of business on Wednesday, November 21st. Items may also be dropped off at the Corporate office in McLean. Rachel will be leaving for Addis on Monday morning, the 26th.

Here is a list of suggested items:

Classic children's books
Coloring books and crayons
Children's Bibles and/or Bible stories
Hand Sterilizer (large bottles)
CD players, children's worship CD's, lullabies, etc.
DVD player and Children's Videos (ie: Veggie Tales, The Wiggles, Praise Baby)
Rubber coated children's spoons
ABC and 123 learning materials for toddlers.
Tape recorder
Little cosmetic mirror
Baby blankets, regular ones and one with hoods sewn in
Towels/soaps and bath items
Jump rope
Inflatable balls,
Lace cards, beads to string on laces
Baby Tylenol, antibiotics, probiotics

Laurel E. Ludwick
Assistant Ethiopia Program Director

Road Block :(

Well, this morning I found out we have a minor road block with the adoption process. We have been waiting for our homestudy to come in the mail any day, so that we may send it to USCIS for their approval. Today our social worker Mandy sent us the following email:

Hey Rebecca,
I got your email and voice mail. I have been traveling a great deal for work so I apologize that I am just getting back to you. I have everything that I need from you and I have everything completed on my end. Your home study fell right at the time when we are going through our annual licensing review by the Division of Regulated Childcare. Unfortunately, the state is behind in doing their site visits. They came several weeks after our license expired. While we still meet all of the requirements set forth by the state of Kentucky, they have been slow in getting our new license to us. I continue to call each week, informing them of the urgency. With Ethiopian HS our license must be attached to the HS when it is submitted, therefore I can not proceed until it arrives. Because it is the state and they are not bound by your timeframe, or mine for that matter....there is nothing I can do at this point. I know other AW states have experienced similar circumstances that are equally frustrating. I have everything printed off with envelopes prepared...just waiting for it to arrive.
I will let you know when I am able to put your HS in the mail.
Let me know if you have any questions.

I emailed her back, thanking her for all her hard work, and I also asked about a timeframe for receiving the license. She said most likely another two weeks.

Of course, we were very disappointed to hear this news, and I was especially frustrated, as this is something completely beyond my control, and there are just so many different hands in this whole process!!( I am somewhat of a control freak :) However, before even opening the email this morning, I just asked the Lord to be with me as I read the email and to help me take the news, whatever it may be, in stride, and with peace. So, we are continuing to trust in his timing, even when we don't understand it. Who knows, the license could come tomorrow :) We have definitely seen some awesome miracles happen in our America World Yahoo Group ( an online group of America World adoptive parents), but right now it just seems like many of us are going through "adoption trials". Please keep us in prayer!

"My hope comes from Him....I will not be shaken".
Psalm 62:5-6

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Adoption Fair Went Great!!!

Just wanted to give a quick update on the adoption went great! God was so faithful, as over twenty people came to learn more about adoption! Many people seemed very interested and asked many questions, and some even stayed after to visit with the presenters! It was a great afternoon! We are now in the midst of planning our next event, and we are even working on starting a Bible study about adoption (the Biblical perspective on adoption). Thanks for all your prayers for this weekend, and keep them coming!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Adoption Fair!!!

I am so excited about the adoption fair!! It is here already!! Please be praying for this special event, as it will take place tomorrow from 1-3. We are praying that God will bring people to this event whom are interested in learning more about adoption, and that he will work through us as we share our own experiences with adoption to encourage these potential adoptive parents! I will let you know how it goes!!

Please be Praying for our AWAA Families!!

Several families that had received referrals were supposed to have their court dates Wednesday, however, due to circumstances in Ethiopia, are now going to have to reschedule. Please keep these families in your prayers. They were expecting to be making travel plans by this time, but now they are waiting to hear when their new court date will be. Needless to say, we are all disappointed for them, but we continue to trust the Lord, even through these difficult circumstances.

Monday, November 5, 2007

They are faxed!!!

I just faxed our remaining letters to our social worker Mandy!!! It feels great to have all that taken care of! Now we will just sit back and wait for our homestudy! Just wanted to share!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

More Work on the Nursery!!

We did some more work on the nursery this weekend! We were blessed to find a used baby bed in the classifieds, and the bedding I ordered from Ebay this weekend came in.....the nursery is looking we just need Caleb!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Name!!!

Well, we have spent the last few weeks searching through baby name books and websites trying to decide on a name for our son :) We had it narrowed down to three or four names, and I think we have finally decided on at least a first name.........drum roll, please......................

Caleb!! That is it! His first name will be Caleb. We aren't for sure on the middle name yet, as we are thinking about waiting until we get our referral and seeing if we can incorporate part of that name into his full name, but we do have a few middle names in mind.

Why Caleb?? Well, we wanted to incorporate a Biblical name, and Caleb Caldwell just has a ring to it, don't you think :) On a more serious note, Caleb was a man of faith, even when those around him weren't. We want this for our son, for him to be a man of faith. Also, the adoption journey has been one of faith for us, and we think this name is reflective of our experience.

So, you can officially call him Caleb!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Pics of the Nursery!!

The nursery is coming together! Mom made this cute little shelf and added some baskets for storage. It looks great! Now we just need a crib!

Where we're at......

Just to let you know where we are in the adoption process.....
Our homestudy has technically been complete for about three weeks now, but we are waiting on a couple of letters from our doctor so that it can be released. This has been frustrating, as we thought we had all the documents we needed from the doctor until last week. Until the homestudy is released, we are really "on hold", because our next step is to submit our homestudy to USCIS. They need our homestudy to process the document that actually gives us permission to bring our child home! It could take anywhere from 1-3 months for them to process this (we are praying it will take only 1 month!!). After they process the form and send us our approval, and after we have everything authenticated by the local, state, and national governments, we then will be ready to send it all to Ethiopia!! That is when our official wait for a referral (i.e. our child) will begin! Since we have requested a boy, we are expecting our wait will be around 2-4 months, but it is really hard to estimate for sure. Our original goal was to have all the paperwork done before Christmas, and it still could happen :) Just keep praying! We should be getting the letters this week. I have been a little frustrated with the whole process this week, and I found myself starting to have a negative, impatient attitude :(. Thankfully, my wonderful husband helped me to remember it is all in God's hands. His timing is perfect.

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Exciting Weekend for our Agency!!!

This weekend five more families received referrals for their children! This is so amazing! One wonderful lady in our group had felt led to pray specifically for referrals this we all joined in....and God did amazing things! We look forward to hearing more great news from these families!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Official...We've requested a boy!!

Today at work I received a call from our social worker. During our conversation she explained to me that referrals are coming a bit quicker for boys than girls, and that if we kept our original request as either sex we would most likely receive a boy. So, we have decided to go ahead and request a boy.... we are going to have a son!!! It is kind of a relief to know the sex. Now we can go ahead and do more planning, shopping, you know, all that fun stuff....and, we have to come up with a name now!!! We had only settled firmly on a girl's name, not a boy's.

Thanks for all your prayers, and keep them coming for our son :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Be a Light of Hope....Partner with us to bring our baby home!

I am so excited to present an opportunity to partner with us to bring home our baby! A dear friend from high school volunteered to help us do a candle fundraiser through Home and Garden Party. The candles smell great (she sent me all the samples), and they would make great Christmas gifts! They burn for 50 hours, and are very affordable at only 9.00 per candle.
There is a link on the top of our blog where you can purchase them online through paypal or by using a credit card. You do not have to have a paypal account to purchase them online. You may also mail checks to our home address: 120 Ridgeline Dr. London, Ky. 40741. Checks can be made out to Zack or Rebecca Caldwell. Make sure to include the quantity and scent you want! We will stop taking orders November 30, so the candles will be here in plenty of time before Christmas! If you are local, candles will be available for pickup at a local venue. If you aren't local, just a few dollars will be added for shipping.
Here are a list of scents:

Warm Maple Sugar*
Spiced Apple*
Creme Brulee
Hot Cinnamon Rolls*
Butter Crunch*
White Rain
Holiday Home*
Warm Cinnamon Pumpkin*
Cookies for Santa*
Cinnamon Cider*
Winter Candy Apple*
Butter Crunch*
Fig Tea
Angel Wings
Vanilla Spice*
Mom's Apple Pie
Only the scents with an asteric are available through online purchase.

Everytime you light your candle, you can remember to pray for our child, and remember that you had a part in bringing hope to an orphan!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The first work on the nursery has begun!

This weekend Zack went on a much anticipated and much deserved motorcycle trip with his dad. While he was gone, we worked on the was a lot of work, but so much fun. We know it will still be several months before the baby gets here, but I wanted to get a head start....a really early head start :) We don't know if we are getting a boy or girl, so we painted the room a soft of my favorite colors! We also painted the furniture white. It is just a start, but I think it is looking good. A big thanks to mom and dad for their help! Here we are putting the furniture back together!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fall is here!!

I love fall! It has finally cooled off here in Kentucky, and it is starting to feel more like fall time. Here is a pic of some of our fall blooming flowers- they did really well this season, despite the heat. Thank you Lord for the beauty you give to us through your creation!

Pack and Play!!

Our first piece of "baby equipment"....Pooh tests it out for got a great deal on it at a consignment store....thanks mom!

Great is thy Faithfulness...

Last night in choir practice we were singing a modern rendition of the old hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness". The words were the same, just a little different tune:

Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I hath needed, thy hand hath provided
Great is they faithfulness, Lord unto me

After we were finished practicing the song, our choir director asked us, "Can any of us think back to a time when God was not faithful?"

I know I sure couldn't think of such a time. He's always been faithful to me. And yesterday, he showed us so much of his faithfulness.

First, we found out that we had been accepted into America World's Eternal Family Fund. This is a fund that allows family and friends to make tax deductible donations to an account set up just for us. We are eligible to receive $9,000 in donations, and every bit of it goes towards our adoption expenses. More to come on this later, including how you can help, and some other fundraisers we will be doing.

Second, we found out that because Zack is a full time youth minister, we qualify for the minister discount offered by America World. This will save us around $2,000 which is a huge blessing, and not something we were counting on.

Third, when I got home from work yesterday and checked the mail, I found our police clearance forms! They came much earlier than I expected, as I only sent them last week! This is really exciting because now our social worker can release our homestudy, which opens up lots of opportunities.

Fourth, it looks like a rep. from America World is going to be able to attend the adoption fair!

Needless to say, at the end of the day, we were in awe of God's faithfulness. This has been a great week.

Monday, October 8, 2007

God Knows our Needs!!

Just last night I was teaching our teen girls about how we can approach the "throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 14:15-16), because we have a God who can identify with our every need, temptation, desire etc. Today, God sent a tangible reminder of that!

I was sitting at work, actually talking to my dad on the phone when a lady walked in and stood by the window to be waited on. I put my dad on hold and welcomed her in, asking how we could help her. She said she needed to see Debbie, our director, who just happened to be sitting in the room. I introduced her and walked into Debbie's office to finish my phone conversation with my dad. As I was walking to pick up the phone, I heard the lady introduce herself, and then she said, "My husband and I are trying to start an adoption ministry..." I stopped in my tracks, forgetting about my dad being on the line, and walked back into the office. I said, "I think I need to be a part of this conversation", and sat back down!

Some of you may not know that Zack and I have been trying to start an adoption ministry at our church...we felt God leading us to not only adopt a child, but to minister to those who were thinking about it, and just make the need and miracle of adoption known. Unfortunately we have had some resistance in the process of starting this ministry.... It has kind of been on hold. What is so amazing is that this lady and her husband felt God leading them to establish some type of adoption ministry, and they also attend a church here in London! They had scheduled an adoption fair type event to be held in their church fellowship hall for November 10th, but a conflict came up with another church event, and they were no longer able to use the church facility, which was why she was here at the community center, to see if we had that date available- we didn't. Because I explained our situation to her, she knew that Zack was the minster of youth at our church. I told her that it might be possible for her to have the event at our church, as many different organizations, etc. hold events in our fellowship hall. I called the church, and it was available!! She was thrilled, and we volunteered to help out with the fair, which I am so excited about! The most amazing thing (in my opinion) about the whole ordeal was that God is going to be glorified through this! We are going to be able to share the wonderful miracle of adoption with ohters!!Despite opposition from man, or other circumstances, God will have his way! It was just so affirming of our call to make adoption and God's love for all people known to others! Praise the Lord!

I won't go into all the details of our amazing conversation, but this wonderful lady and her husband have three adopted children, all adopted from here in Kentucky. She told us the amazing stories of their adoption, and it touched my heart. Their youngest child is African-American, and is not a year old yet, which is just awesome, as one day our children can be playmates! This is such an answer to prayer, because there is not an abundance of black children with white parents here in London, Kentucky, and this was something that Zack and I have been praying about, and praying for our child about. We know that most people will be accepting of our family, but we also know it will be important for our child to have someone to play with every now and then that looks like him/her, and that has a mommy and daddy that look like us! Praise God, now our child will have this!!

We are having dinner with fine couple tomorrow night, so just pray for our conversation and that God will be glorified!

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Hebrews 4:15-16

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Two AWAA families received their referrals!

Great news! Two AWAA Ethiopia families received their referrals! They have both been waiting several months, so this is just such a blessing. The David and Carpenter families are now waiting for their court dates in Ethiopia. Then they can post pictures of their children! I can't wait to see them! We praise God for his goodness to these families.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The homestudy is complete!!!

Our homestudy is complete! Well, sort of :) Our visits are complete, we are just waiting for the homestudy to be written and approved. Our social worker has been so great, we are so thankful for her! We have learned so much through the homestudy process; it has truly been an eye opening experience for us, and God has taught us so much! Thank you for all your prayers.
Next Step: Wait for the homestudy to be approved, send it to USCIS (this is the final piece of documentation they need!), then they will send us the final form for our dossier!! who hoo!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Financial Side of Adoption

Many of our friends and family have asked us about the financial aspect of adoption. Usually they ask how much the adoption will cost, and then their very next question is, why so much? Our adoption will cost approximately $20,000. This is a large amount of money, but when you think that a life will be forever changed, it kind of puts the cost in perspective...after all, 20,000 is the average price of a car these days. Anyway, here is a breakdown of the costs:

America World Application Fee: $250.00

America World Ethiopia Program Fee (fees for all that America World does on our behalf, trust us, they do a lot!): $4100.00

USCIS Fee (this is a government fee for citizenship forms and fingerprinting): $830.00

Dossier Authentication (making sure that all our forms are ready to go to Ethiopia): $400.00

Home Study Fee: $2450.00

Post Placement Fee (this fee is fully refundable as long as we submit a post-placement report in a timely fashion): $1000.00

Dossier Translation (translating document into acceptable format for Ethiopia) $600.00

Ethiopian VISAS for two adults: $60.00

Child's VISA: $380.00

Round Trip Airfare for two adults: $2400-$3600

Airfare for child (one-way): $700.00

In-Country Package (this includes our housing accommodations, meals, translators/guides, in-country transportation, gratuity to all staff): $1775.00

International Program Fees (this includes an orphanage donation, our child's medical care, and a development project fee) $3450.00

Giving a child a forever home: PRICELESS ( I just had to throw that in there!)

So, that is the breakdown of where all that money goes! We know that God will be faithful in providing the finances for our adoption. Several family and friends have asked about having a fundraiser, and we are planning to do that in the next few months. Also, once our homestudy is approved, we will be eligible for America World's Eternal Family Fund, a fund where friends and family can make tax deductible donations to help with the cost of our adoption. We will also be applying for grants once our homestudy is approved. Thanks for all your prayers...keep them coming!

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations
Psalm 89:1

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our Final Two Homestudy Appointments are scheduled!!

Great news! We heard from our sweet social worker yesterday, and our final two homestudy appointments are set! They will be next Monday, October 1, and Tuesday, October 2! After that, our homestudy is complete! This whole process has moved much faster than we expected, so we are thankful for that! After our homestudy is completed, we will be able to send it to USCIS, and then they will begin to adjudicate our case. Also, after our homestudy is approved, we will be able to apply for grants to assist with the cost of the adoption. Please keep this aspect of the adoption in your prayers. We know that God is faithful and will provide, but at times, the financial aspect of the adoption can be overwhelming. Thanks again for all the prayers and encouragement!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yesterday Went Very Well!

Hey everybody!
Praise the Lord, yesterday went very well. We arrived right on time for our fingerprinting appointments, and that went smoothly, taking all of about ten minutes. We had a couple of hours to burn before our next appointment, so went checked out the mall, and Babies-r-Us! That store was overwhelming...we had never seen so many baby was fun! Then we headed on to our appointment with our social worker. She was wonderful! She actually has some ties to London, and knew some of Zack's old really is a small world. She was very encouraging and said that we were right on track with our paperwork. She also told us there is a family less than a mile from us who is using AWAA to adopt from China! Isn't that amazing! Not only is it exciting to have another AWAA family so close, but it will also help on home study travel expenses, as she will be able to schedule our visits for the same day, hopefully!

We should know soon when she will conducting our next homestudy visit. Other than that, there are just a few more documents we still need to get....we estimate that we are almost halfway done with all the paperwork! That is really exciting!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Waiting on the Lord....for fingerprint appointments!

Do you ever have trouble waiting for the Lord? We do! Sometimes God has to remind us to wait on him. Recently, we have been waiting to hear from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services about appointments for us to be fingerprinted for our adoption. Becoming impatient, we decided to go ahead and schedule the appointments ourselves, through their online service. We were hoping to schedule them for the same day as our first home study visit, which is next Wednesday, as both were to take place in Louisville, and it would save an extra trip. Unfortunately, the date our home study was scheduled was unavailable, so we had to make plans to travel to Louisville on a separate day.

That same afternoon Rebecca checked the mail as she returned home from work. Two envelopes from U.S.C.I.S. were among the pieces of mail that day. One was addressed to her, the other to me. As she opened them, she realized that they were notices for our fingerprinting appointments….the ones we had been too impatient to wait for! Not only this, but the date they were scheduled for was the exact date of our home study visit! We immediately canceled the appointments we had made ourselves.

God is so willing to provide all we need, if we will only take the time to wait on Him. God spoke to us through this experience. It was as if He said to us, "I have everything about this adoption in my hands. Just wait on me, and while you are waiting, find peace in my strength, and let my love quiet all your worries and anxieties".

Isn't God amazing!

So, keep us in your prayers next Wednesday, September 19! It will be a big day for us!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I forgot to mention we already have one adopted "family member"

I realized that I had not yet included any posts about the one "baby" we do have....Pooh, our dog! He is actually adopted too! Cool, huh! We adopted him when he was two years old. He has been with us for about nine months now. He is a great dog. Here he is in his athletic getup.

Our First Homestudy Appointment!

Today we heard from the social worker who will be doing our homestudy! Our first appointment is two weeks from today, on September 19. We will be going to Louisville for this visit and the next visit, and then she will be coming to our home for the third and final visit. Just another part of the journey!

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Paper Chase Officially Begins!

Today we received an email from AWAA with all the info we need to begin gathering our dossier! This is very exciting, and now the paperchase officially begins! There are probably around 30 different documents that we will have to collect, most will have to be notarized, others certified, others....who knows! So, just keep us in your prayers as we enter this new leg of our journey! After looking over all the documents we will have to request, this part seems kind of overwhelming, but when you think about the end result, it is all worth it! Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The First Packet has Arrived!!

Well, yesterday was a pretty exciting day!!! This past weekend, we received our first packet of info from America World. It included our agreement, more specific details about the Ethiopia program, and details on how to submit the first form to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (from here on out, USCIS!). It was so exciting! So yesterday, we mailed off lots of documents to AWAA, and our petition for an orphan to USCIS.

Next steps: we should be contacted by USCIS regarding our fingerprinting appointment, and AWAA will be sending us another packet of info regarding collecting documents for our dossier. And, we should be getting started on our homestudy soon!

It is starting to seem "real" now! Tomorrow I will be going to Frankfort to take our birth certificates and marriage certificate to the Secretary of State's office. They have to have a special authorization (or something like that!) It is part of the dossier, so I am just trying to get a head start.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

We Have Been Accepted!!

A little before noon today I got a call from AWAA......they have officially accepted our application! So, we're in! Praise God! Now we begin the homestudy process, along with collecting all the documents for our dossier, which will be sent to Ethiopia. This whole process should take 3-4 months, if everything goes smoothly. Thanks for all your prayers, and keep them coming!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

An amazing video and song that described adoption to a "T"...please watch

Latest News..

Well, the lastest news is that we have to get one more piece of documentation sent to AWAA before our application can be accepted. We should be able to turn it in this week, so hopefully we can move on with the process soon!

What an Awesome Trip!!


We got back Saturday evening from our mission trip to was awesome! God used the people we came into contact with to challenge, love, and inspire us. I am really grateful. We did a lot of construction work while we were there, and we also had the chance to work at the Chicago Food Depository. They serve over 90,000 families a week, which is a huge number!

I personally was really challenged to take on the task of denying self and the things of the world, for the things of Christ. It can seem so hard sometimes, as we do live in the world, and are faced every day with the temptations of the world. However, there is abundant life in Christ (John 10:10), if we will just allow him to renew our hearts and minds, so that we can see clearly his will, which is so amazing (Romans 12:1-2)!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Still No Word....

Well, still no word from America World (our adoption agency) yet...We are hoping to hear from them before the weekend, because we will be traveling to Chicago with some of our youth and other church members to do mission work there for a week. We are really looking forward to the trip, and hearing back from AWAA before we leave would be even better!

We have been encouraged this week as several families that we are connected to through a Yahoo group have received referrals for their child, and court dates for the finalization of their adoption. It is really exciting to see these things happen for these families!! One day, God willing, it will be us!

We also really appreciate the encouragement that we have received from our family and friends, even in these very early stages....they mean a lot!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Application is in the mail!!

We sent off the application today! WHOO HOO! We should know within ten days if we have been accepted into the Ethiopia program.

You guys should check out one of the websites listed in the link area...well, actually, check them all out...but, if you have time for just one...check out
Click on adoption when this webpage opens up. It chronicles their entire journey from start to finish, along with pictures and videos. They adopted through the agency that we used, America World.

Have a great week!

Why are we Adopting?

We realized that for some of you, the news of our adoption plans might be quite a is a little bit more of how we came to our decision...
For those of you who don't know (I think most of you do), I was adopted when I was four days old. So, adoption has always had a special place in my heart, and I have always hoped to have the opportunity to adopt one day. Many of you also know that shortly after Zack and I were married, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, Lupus. Lupus makes pregnancy high risk for both mother and baby, and a few additional tests confirmed that if I became pregnant, it could indeed be a very high risk. We believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and God, and know that he does amazing things. He opens doors no one else can open, and closes door no one else can close. He has been faithful to Zack and I our entire lives, even when we haven't been faithful to him. We believed, and still believe, that he would take care of us if we were to become pregnant. At the same time, we felt a desire in our heart that we believe God placed there, to explore adoption. We talked to my parents attorney about domestic adoption, and after we left and processed through the information we received, felt like if God was calling to us adopt, it wasn't domestically. So, we began to research international adoption, and requested some info from a few agencies. Within a few days, we were looking over lots of info, about lots of countries!
It seemed overwhelming at first! The cost, the paperwork, the wait, the travel! Was it really worth it? That is when God placed what I would call a burden on our heart for the orphans of the world. Though it is hard to know an exact estimate, most statistics claim that there are over 100 million orphans in the world. That is a staggering number. God began to impress upon Zack and I to consider opening our hearts to a child thousands of miles away!It didn't take long for us to become convinced that adoption is truly God's heart. After all, did he not adopt us into his family? To adopt simply means to make one like your son or daughter, with all the benefits of son or daughtership. This is exaclty what Christ has done for us. It is beautiful. Well, I could go on and on, but basically I can tell you that we have decided on a country...Ethiopia! Why Ethiopia? There are several reason....first, Zack and I fit the countries requirements in regard to age and length of marriage (every country has different requirements) Second, there is truly a need for orphans to be adopted from Ethiopia... Statistic time again...there are around 5 million orphans in Ethiopia you realize that is about the same size as the entire population of Kentucky? Third, we just felt God calling us there! Please pray for us as we prepare to begin the journey that is international adoption. All in all, it usually takes around 10-12 months from the time you apply, until the time you come home with your baby! Also, pray that God will provide the finances for this to is expensive, but we know that God is faithful. Please also pray for our families as we discuss this more with them. Our parents have been very supportive! We realize that adopting a baby from another country, with a completely different culture is a kind of radical step for most people! We plan to begin educating ourselves on adopting a child of another culture and race, and we have already made some great contacts with families who have adopted from Ethiopia. We believe that the bottom line is this...God loves all his children. He created them all. They all deserve to be loved. It is our job as Christians to love them. After all, our lives are supposed to reflect Christ's love. If this is the case, then that means to all people, and all cultures. We desire your prayers, and welcome any questions!!