Thursday, March 27, 2008

Change in Ethiopian Law...

Today I received this email from our program director...this is GREAT news!

Dear Ethiopia Families,

The number of days an abandoned child has to remain in an orphanage before being eligible for adoption has been reduced from 90 days to 60 days. We are happy with this new law as it allows children to unite with their forever families even quicker.

In Christ,

Duni Zenaye
Africa Program Director

Amen!! Praise God for his goodness!

3 More Referrals!!!!

Yesterday, 3 more families received referrals! The Kidd family, and two other families who are adopting older children. This has been an exciting week for our AWAA Ethiopia family. We look forward to more excitement :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2 Months & 3 Referrals!

Today marks 2 months of waiting for a referral! Only 3-5 more months to go! God has been so faithful to us while we have waited, and our friends and family have been so supportive!

Also, yesterday, 3 families received referrals! Praise God! The Cordell, West, and Schaetz families all received referrals....1 girl and 2 boys!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Reflections

This past Thursday, we concluded the final night of our Passion play, and every performance, God has spoken to me through one song, especially. It is called "This is Love". We sing it as Jesus is being nailed to the cross. As the soldiers are raising up the cross with Jesus' broken and bleeding body, the words, "This is Love" ring out through the auditorium. May we be reminded of just what Christ did for us this Easter season....

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son.
That whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his son into the world, to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But God demonstrates his own love, for us in this,
while we were still sinners, Christ died, for us.

Thanks be to our God! Thanks be to our God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
This is love, this is love.
Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, for our sins.

And he, himself, is our peace.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!

My blog friend KP tagged me!!! How fun!! Here is what you do....You have to tag 5 people and you can't tag the person that tagged you. You leave them a comment on their blog letting them know you are tagging them and why. Also, direct them to your blog for instructions. It is also asked that you notify the tagger when you post your list so that they can enjoy reading the responses. Basically when you get tagged, you post ten fun facts about yourself! So, here are my ten:

1. I was adopted when I was four days old by the best parents in the world! I am an only child.

2. From a very young age, I have been in love with Kentucky Wildcat Sports (especially basketball and football).

3. After the first time of talking and hanging out with my now husband, I knew this was the man God had chosen for me. I actually went home and told my parents, "I am going to marry this man!"

4. I really enjoy food- most all kinds. The only foods I really can't stand (that I have tried): celery and cooked peas. Weird, I know.

5. I have four more classes to complete my Master of Arts degree in Human Services. After Caleb and any other children God may bless us with enter their first year of school, I really want to work in the adoption field in some capacity.

6. I know many, many of the lines, (well mostly all of them) from the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Sad, isn' t it?

7. I love music. God uses it to speak to me often. It moves my soul.

8. I really enjoy cleaning my house.

9. I love gardening!

10. I think the NFL is awesome, and I love watching NFL games with my husband!

I am going to tag....Alissa, Cindy, Jen S., Nikki, and Danielle!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Black Magic"

Okay, I am just going to prepare you now. Though the title doesn't sound it, this is going to be one heavy blog post :)

Last night we didn't have evening church service due to our Passion play (more to come on this in another post) . So, Zack and I spent a Sunday evening at home, doing basically nothing. It felt strange, really strange. Anyway, we were watching television, catching up on all the latest breakdowns of the brackets for the NCAA tourney, it was pretty fun. After that was all over, I saw that a program I had been interested in seeing was coming on ESPN. The program is called "Black Magic". It is a two part series (last night and tonight) that tells the story of the injustice that characterized the Civil Rights Movement in America, as told through the eyes of basketball players and coaches who attended Historical Black Colleges and Universities. Even if you are not a sports fan, it is a really great documentary.

I have always been interested in the Civil Rights Movement and the times and events that surrounded that part of American history. The accounts of those who experienced the effects of such extreme prejudice and racism simply because of a superficial difference never ceases to amaze and horrify me. I can not wrap my mind around it, nor can I adequately explain how I feel about it. But now, these events and the notion of prejudice and racism has taken on a completely different meaning for me. I sat last night watching the program, and I felt both afraid and anxious for our son. Yes, times have changed. Yes, segregation no longer exists, and black people have all the same legal rights as anyone else in our country (even though research and statistics don't really show the evidence of that...sorry my sociology background is kicking in:). However, to say that the consequences and effects of that kind of racism are all behind us is just not realistic, unfortunately. The repercussions of that kind of hate just doesn't go away because of laws..... and this is what I fear for our son. I don't think I am over exaggerating or being dramatic for feeling this way. Though most everyone has been very supportive of our adoption, there have been some comments made and some looks given to us that have clearly shown disapproval. And I can't help but think (and in some instances know) that it is because our child will be black. I am sure there will be some more looks once he gets here as well. Unfortunately, this is life in a fallen world.

It is not like I haven't thought about this whole race issue before now, or as if Zack and I didn't consider racial issues when we decided to adopt from Ethiopia- we did, and eventually came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter! The alternative is that these children may never have a home! In our hearts, we could not justify our decision to not adopt certain children simply based on their skin color. We could not imagine saying to a child, "Sorry, we didn't want to adopt you because you are (whatever color)." I am sorry if this sounds harsh. I know that not everyone is called to adopt, and I am not trying to offend anyone. This is just how we felt God speak to us.

I think now it is just becoming more of a reality, as the time draws closer for Caleb to be with us. To think that our son will grow up and will have to face some of these issues... I can't bear to think that Caleb may be hurt someday because of the hate that someone has in their heart....over skin color? Please hear me- never for one second do we regret our decision to adopt a child of another race. We know God called us to adopt this special child from Ethiopia, and he has affirmed and reminded us of this calling over and over again throughout this process. It has been amazing to see all the glory he has received throughout this process, and we are so honored to have been able to be a part! And I know that he will continue to receive glory as Caleb joins us forever sometime in the next few months :) We can't wait.

Though I know that we all have and know of so many prayer needs, if you think of our adoption, (and any adoption, for that matter) would you please remember to pray for this specific issue? Please pray for wisdom for Zack and I as we deal with any racial issues that may arise. Please pray for Caleb, that even now he will know he is loved deeply by Zack and I, his family and friends, and by his Heavenly Father, and that no matter what people may say or how they may look at him, his value is not determined by any external feature, but by God's love for him. I am so thankful for that amazing love.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Happy Homecoming!

Yesterday we celebrated the very happy homecoming of Erin, my sister-in-law. She has faithfully been serving as a foreign missionary in and around the Bangladesh area for the last two years. Monday, she came home!! This was so special, but what made it extra special is that yesterday was Zack's grandmother's birthday. They had kept Erin's homecoming a surprise for her birthday....and needless to say, she was shocked! I have included some photos and a short video (it is a little blurry,I took it with my camera) of the big surprise.

Just a quick note on Erin- she is such a precious woman! She has a servants heart that is just amazing. It inspires me! The living conditions she faced while in Bangladesh were very difficult, to say the least, yet she delighted in serving the people and her God. She is an example for us all. Thanks Erin! I am very blessed with wonderful in-laws! I love them all.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lots of New Families!!

Over the last few weeks, many new families have joined the AW Ethiopia program, which is very exciting! Many of these families have joined from the AW El Salvador program, as El Salvador unfortunately is having some internal issues that have affected the adoption process. I have added all the new families to our blog list, and I also added where each family is at in the process. Enjoy!

Back in Time!

If it looks like we have went back in time a little bit with our "waiting for a referral" counter, well, we have! After the conference call on Friday, Duni made it clear that the date our dossier goes to Ethiopia is when our official wait begins. So, we lost a little over a week, but no biggie! We are still almost to two months! Praise God!

Friday, March 7, 2008

What a Great Conference Call!!!

Today's conference call was awesome! I was so nervous dialing the hands were shaking :) It was amazing to hear the voices of all my dear Yahoo Group friends that I had previously only read emails from!

We learned many things from our conference call, and it did actually last the entire two hours! Duni (the Africa program director) is amazing, and she ran through all our questions, then opened the call up for questions from each of the families.

Here are the basics of what we learned:

Wait Times
Wait times are expected to remain in check in terms of what we have most recently been told: 5-7 months for an infant boy. So, we are not quite two months into the wait!! This means we should be expecting our referral sometime between the end of June and the end of August!

"Number in Line"
Families will no longer be assigned a dossier number (though ours is still valid). Instead, the log in date of the dossier (otherwise known as DTE: Dossier to Ethiopia) will be the mark by which families are "in line". From now on, when a referral is given, it will be designated by the families log in date, and this will help us judge how close we are getting. For example, the most recent infant boy referral which came the last week of February 2008 had a log in date of mid-September 2007- which means their referral took a little over 5 months. Duni said that we should use recent referrals to judge our wait time when our time gets closer. I would be very happy with using a 5 month wait time! Our official log in date is January 25, 2008 (this is a little later than what I had originally used, as I had used the date our dossier arrived at AWAA).

New Partnerships with Orphanges
Hopefully beginning the end of March, AWAA will begin partnering with two more orphanages in Ethiopia! This will not decrease wait times, but rather will sustain the current wait times, and keep them from increasing.

Court Closure
The Ethiopian courts will be closed from sometime in August through sometime in October. This could affect us. If our referral were to fall within four to five weeks of the beginning of the court closure, we might be delayed to be scheduled for a court date until the courts reopen in October. For example, if we received a referral the first week of July or later, most likely our court date would be delayed until the courts reopen sometime in October. When the courts reopen, they are usually always very "jammed", so getting a court date could take longer than the usual 3-4 weeks. We can still receive a referral during court closure, if we do not receive one before. Remeber, the order is referral, successful court date, travel!!!

I think that is the most pertinent info that we learned from the conference call. I may post with additional info later!! It was such an awesome experience, and I think Duni is going to try to do a call once a month!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Baby Consignment Sale!!

Oh my goodness!!! Today my mom and I went to a large baby consignment sale.....I know, I know, I am not suppossed to be doing any of this stuff until we get our referral, but I could not resist. I am weak.

We didn't get anything too major, just some puzzles, fun toys, and a few staple clothing items (a pair of jeans, khaki pants, a jacket or know...the basics).

I only spent a little over twenty dollars, so I think I did pretty well.

I have to admit, it gave me "baby fever". Could I just be put out for the next several months, until we get "the call"?

No, that is not a good idea. This time of waiting has also been a time of growth, and I want to experience that ...I guess. Just kidding. Of course I want to grow!

Anyway, the good news is, we have almost been waiting for our referral for two months now, which, if the time frame of 5-7 months that they gave us stays the same (we should find out more about this tomorrow during the conference call), then we only have 3-5 more months of waiting!!! Whoo Hoo!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Conference Call!

This Friday families with submitted dossiers will have the chance to participate in a conference call with the Africa program director. The purpose of this call is to answer any questions that waiting families may have. I will be sure to share any items of interest!

This past Friday, in the weekly update, time frames were given by dossier log in date. The time frames have not changed for us, which is good news. However, it could be possible that they may lengthen in the future. This is something that we will be sure to ask about in the conference call. Here is a copy of the weekly update:

America World Received 2 referrals for the last week of February. The DTE (Dossier Submitted to Ethiopia date) for referrals in February is as follows.
Sibling group under 5: May 11, 2007
Female infant: July 18, 2007
Male Infant: September 20, 2007
Based on the new referrals, the wait time for infant girls is 7-9 months, for infant boys 5-7 months and the wait time for sibling group under five is 9-12 months.