Monday, June 30, 2008

What A Weekend!

This weekend, I and seven other women from our church traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the Deeper Still Women's Conference featuring Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, and Priscilla Shirer. It was absolutely amazing, to say the least! God blessed my heart in so many ways...He knew exactly what I needed to hear! I can't say enough about the gift that God has given these ladies to communicate the word of God. I was convicted to treasure the word of God above everything else in my life. I want to love his Word more and more, and share the truth of it with others.

Also, the most recent post on the AWAA blog says this:

June 27, 2008
Ethiopia Program
10 referrals of children ranging from 0-10 were made in the month of June.
The family who recently received an infant girl referral had a DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) of October 15 2007.The family who recently received an infant boy referral had a DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) of November 21 2007.
Based on the new referrals the wait time for an infant girl and infant boy as well as toddlers is currently 7-9 months.
32 children have come home with their adoptive families in 2008. America World families have received 35 referrals since January of this year. 7 of these children were from the Waiting Children list.

That's right! AWAA reached their goal of giving ten referrals per month! Praise God! That is a huge milestone for our agency, and one that we pray will continue.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Time is Passing By.....

Today we have been in the adoption process for 11 months...and we have been waiting for a referral for almost 5 months (that will happen Wednesday :)

Almost a year has passed since we officially made the decision to adopt....that seems unreal! There has been so much we have learned, felt, and experienced. At times, this process seems to be flying by and not such a big it's just a part of daily life. From month 4 to month 5 seems to have only taken a couple of days! If only they could all pass that quickly and painlessly.

At other times, this process seems to consume my mind and emotions. The wait can seem unbearable...almost like it will never end. Almost like you can feel every second tick by. I try not to think about the fact that if the wait times hadn't changed, we probably would be expecting our referral in only a few weeks!

I mentioned in a previous post that I truly believed God had planned the timing of our adoption and the graduate course on cultural issues that I just finished to coincide. In that course I read about what it is like for individuals who belong to the non-dominant culture (dominant meaning white) to live in the United States. Some stories were happy and warm, and others were quite difficult to read, and I was appalled at the ignorance, and just pure evil that the authors faced simply due to the color of their skin. I was in the midst of reading these stories when I began to recognize that though I have only the best intentions in my heart and mind when considering issues of race and equality (obviously, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia, right?) at times, I have twinges in my heart that reveal otherwise. Yes, I just said that. That is hard to admit. I am glad I can admit it, but it is hard. Why do I say such things? Well, for example, when we first began the adoption process, I was somewhat hesitant to proudly exclaim, "We are adopting a baby from Ethiopia!" I ashamedly admit that I had a small twinge of fear inside as to what others might think when they put together the fact that Ethiopia was in Africa and Africans! As God continued to affirm our decision, it became easier and easier and more of an honor for me to tell others of our adoption. I hadn't thought twice about speaking about our adoption until a few week's ago when our elderly neighbors stopped for a visit. Upon seeing the nursery, they asked how the adoption was going, and then they asked us to remind them where we were adopting from. I admit, I had been dreading this moment, because I just had this feeling that they were not going to approve of an adoption from Africa. I know, I was making a value judgement that I had no right making, but I just had this feeling that they would say something not nice. Zack jumped right in and told them, Ethiopia. They didn't say anything back- not a word. What bothered me about the situation was not their reaction, but the fact that after all this time, I still feared what others might think. It just showed me that I still have some work to do in my heart. After they left I talked with Zack about my feelings, and we both vowed to be more proactive about race issues. What does this mean? For us, it means sharing Christ's love for all people with others, as Christ did, and not fearing what the world thinks. It means not standing for any jokes or inappropriate comments about culture or race, not just about black people, but about any race. It means embracing other cultures, not fearing or judging them because we simply might not understand them. And it means recognizing the privilege that we have as white people. This last point might be the hardest, and I know it usually strikes a chord with some white folks. It did with me as an undergraduate sociology student. Whether or not you want to believe it, being born white in the USA gives a person some advantages, lots, actually. If you don't believe me, feel free to email me privately, and I will gladly give you the names of some excellent texts that documents this fact quite clearly. The effects of white privilege on minority cultures is something that I have come to realize through the last five years, and thankfully, now white privilege strikes a quite different chord with me. Like I said, I still have a lot of work to do in my own heart, but I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to issues like these. We may never fully realize all the biases we have in our hearts, but I pray that God will continue to reveal them to me.

Okay, well that was quite a tangent I went on, but it was bound to come out eventually. Anyway, back to the "fun" stuff :) As I had mentioned in a previous post, we hope to hear something in late August or early September. Thanks to super sleuths in our Yahoo group, we have constructed what we believe to be a quite accurate list of waiting families and their positions relative to dossier number, dossier to Ethiopia date, and gender request. It would appear, and I stress appear, that we seem to be somewhere in the realm of #6- #10 waiting for a boy. Why the discrepancy? Well, there are mystery families out there who aren't members of our YG, so we can't know if they are requesting a boy or girl, an older child, or multiples. Obviously, if all the mystery families are requesting infant boys, then we fall later in line, if all were requesting girls, we would fall earlier in line, and if its about half and half (which is what I suspect), then we fall midway in, we could be the 7th or 8th family in line for a boy....pretty exciting stuff!! At least it keeps us busy :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Last night we had our final class meeting for one of two of the summer classes I am taking. This class was COU 804, Counseling Diverse Populations. I wish everyone had the opportunity to take this class, and I actually think that some form of it should be required for all students. During the first class meeting our professor told us that this course was as a transformative course, because the students truly undergo a transformation while in the class. She could not have been more correct!

I wish I could put into words all that I learned and experienced, but I am not even sure if I have absorbed and processed through all the content at this time. The reading was intense, and I admit, I did not get to all of it, but what I did get to read was unbelievable. We had four text books. One book was The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. I had no idea what to expect when I picked this book up, but after I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. This book was about the Hmong people group, and one particular families struggle to care for their daughter within the American health care system, which is so different from their own. It was basically the story of the collision of two cultures, and the aftermath that resulted when neither group was willing to attempt to understand the other. It was such an eye opening experience in terms of the importance of attempting to understand different cultures.

Our other text books, Culture & Identity and Explorations in Privilege, Oppression, and Diversity, were personal stories and articles about the above topics- culture, identity, privilege and oppression- and the intersection of all of them. If you are interested at all in any of these issues, and hopefully you are, I would highly recommend these books. Though they are technically text books, reading them was more like sitting down with someone and listening to their story of how their culture has impacted their life.

I truly believe that the timing of this class and the timing of our adoption was all in God's plan. I had taken a whole year off from graduate school, and really wasn't sure I was even going to return. Upon returning, this course was a requirement, but only after I had taken two other courses this past spring. To have this class only a few months (hopefully) before the arrival of our son was simply a blessing.

I will share more in the coming days....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It could be August!

We learned some new helpful information from the conference call this past Tuesday. I am not going to recount all of it, so here are the most important points:

1. AWAA is partnering with another new orphanage! They are now partnering with three orphanages. Hopefully this will limit the wait times from extending too much further.

2. We will most likely receive our referral in August or early September, which is during the court closure period. August is only two months away!! The downside is that any referrals received during the court closure period are subject to 4 months of waiting between referral and travel. That means is we receive our referral in August, we will have to wait until late November or early December to travel, most likely. This was tough news to hear. It will be extremely hard to have our son's picture in front of us, but not be able to get to him for four months! Four months....whoo. We do have the option of not receiving our referral during that time, but I think we are leaning towards going ahead and receiving it.

3. The power outages will continue to affect all aspects of the adoption process in Ethiopia. Please pray for rain!!

Please continue to pray for us as we enter into a very emotional next few months. Though it will unbelievable when we finally have a referral, the wait that will ensue the months following will be very difficult. We are trusting in the Lord for the strength to make it through the wait.

In other news....only one more week until one summer class is over! I can't wait to share all I have learned!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Families in Ethiopia!

Just a quick update...our conference call has been postponed until this if I learn any new news I will post that information soon!

Also, check out the links to the right for the Cordell, Kidd and West family blogs. They are in Ethiopia with their children!! So precious!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Very Special Visit....

This past weekend my family took a mini-vacation to the Washington, DC area. While we were there, we were able to stop in at AWAA's headquarters (our adoption agency) and visit with Duni Zenaye, the Ethiopia program director. We had a great visit, and were able to discuss some important issues.

One of those issues is the increased wait time for referrals. Boy referrals will now take 7-9 months, instead of 5-7 months. This was a little difficult to hear, but given the current situations in Ethiopia, it was somewhat expected. What does this mean for us? We can now expect a referral between August-October, and hopefully will be traveling by the end of the year. More clarification should be given on this issue, along with many others during our conference call on Thursday.