Friday, August 29, 2008

Good News Friday!

Amazing news today as I checked email to discover 5 REFERRALS today! Congratulations to the Stager, Savage, Pridemore, Sloniger and Sparr families who will all be welcoming home baby boys soon - except for the Sparrs who will be welcoming home a 5 year old girl!! I think that makes 10 referrals during the month of August - with rumors of more referrals next week as final paperwork and medicals are received.

We have a birthday coming up in a few days (my 9 year old will be turning 10) and she has had her heart set on a gecko. We've done all the research, and although I have a soft spot in my heart for amphibians and reptiles (see previous pictures of turtles and tree frogs), I'm not terribly thrilled about a gecko. They need to feed on crickets (OK - that means having a bunch of crickets in the house - no thank you), feeding them daily after coating them with a calcium powder to keep the gecko healthy (c'mon seriously?!?). And if the crickets prove to be too evasive for the gecko, then it is suggested that you pull the legs off the crickets. OK - not so enjoyable for an animal lover.

So we began discussing alternatives. Stopped at a petstore to look further - and home we came with 2 adorable little dwarf siberian hamsters. Small and cuddly and they don't eat crickets!! Two hamsters - because our 11 year old needs something to cuddle too - right? Does this mean when we have 4 kids - we'll need to get 4 of everything? .... I must admit, the little hamsters are adorable and the girls have been making those sweet little oooooh and aaaaaw sounds ever since.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tentative travel date ...

We've been given tentative travel dates of Oct 24 - October 31, if we have a successful court date on October 8. Seems surreal to finally have a travel date after so many ups and downs leading up to the court closure.

Today - as part of our travel checklist, I wrote and mailed a letter to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) to update our FBI fingerprints which will expire in November. (How do fingerprints expire you may ask??? good question with no good answer - we just follow government procedure.) Other than the fingerprints, everything else is current and ready.

School open houses were held this week and it was such a welcome surprise to see our 7 year old son's name on the classroom list posted on the classroom door. He even has his name posted on his desk and his first grade teacher asked if she could talk about him to the class and explain where he is from. She wants him to feel welcome and she wants his classmates to feel like they know him. He has one classmate that is adopted from China and his teacher is adopted as well - so this is a welcome and easily discussed topic in this classroom.

We got some new pictures of our sons from the Ducommun family and our little boys look a little older this time. Still full of smiles and mischief though! We can't wait to have them home!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Precarious balance ...

One of our dear AWAA families recently received word that their 3 1/2 month old baby daughter in Ethiopia had been hospitalized with pneumonia and was not responding well to treatment. Yesterday, they found out that she did not make it through the night. Every adoptive family that has been touched by this news has been stunned and terribly saddened that this little girl passed away without ever knowing and feeling the love of her forever family. It is a sobering reminder that life is fragile ... but even more so for our children that are still living in Ethiopia, awaiting a court date that will unite them with their family. Nutrition, disease and basic medical care are much more of a daily concern - and even though our children are getting better care at the Transition Home - their lives are still in a precarious balance. Our entire AWAA family is wrapping this family in prayer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Referrals rolling in ...!


Congratulations to the Witter, Forrest and Gamble families! Witters got a referral for a toddler girl, while Forrests and Gambles received referrals for 2 siblings each! With the recent news of about 50 kids in the Transition Home, more referrals are eagerly anticipated in the coming days and weeks! The referrals certainly seem to be picking up speed as our agency (AWAA) becomes more firmly established in Ethiopia. In a recent conference call with families, we learned that the lease is soon to expire at the current Transition Home and a larger home is being acquired. Lots of encouraging news!

There are 7 families currently waiting for their court date on October 8. Redfern, Wempe, Wistrom, Schmidt, VanWetten, Lusse, and Hutchinson families.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

News from afar ...

There are 4 AWAA families in Ethiopia right now bringing their children home! Moles, Cox, Ducommun and Moustos families (the Moustos do not have a blog). KP Moles posted a note on our chat group today saying that it is obvious that AWAA will continue giving referrals during the court closure. Currently there are 45 kids at the Transition Home. Once the families leave with their 4 kiddos - AWAA is making arrangements to pick up 9 more kids from the orphanage. That will be 50 kids at the TH! This is fantastic news because that means there are a lot more families who will be matched up with their children very soon! It also means that the TH home is overflowing with kids!!

Many of the kids in an orphanage do not have the paperwork needed to make them eligible for adoption (like a birth certificate or identity papers). Some children are abandoned and left without any type of identification. Our agency has initiated a fundraiser called "An Orphan's Ticket Home", designed specifically to fund the gathering and creation of identification papers so that a child can become eligible for adoption. Click here to read about it and take action by donating to this very worthy cause.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Adoption ...?


Recently, Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, were featured on Good Morning America and Larry King Live. It was their first public appearances since the recent tragic death of their adopted daughter, Maria. In an article published before the interviews, Stephen had some profound statements that helped to crystallize some of the reasons we have chosen adoption to expand our family. Here are a few excerpts from that article...

"My wife and I had always supported the idea of adoption, and as Christians, we understood the importance of loving and caring for others. But what I had not yet grasped was that adoption is a physical picture of what Jesus has done for me. I did nothing to deserve God's love; in fact, I was living as an orphan, without hope. Yet God chose to pursue a relationship with me, and through the death of his son Jesus, I was adopted into God's family."

"...In our travels to Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have visited many different orphanages. If you look past the surroundings and into the eyes of the children, they all have the same look. They seem to convey, "I don't think this is what I was made for. Where do I belong?" These children are crying out for the hope of a family, for the hope of community, for the hope of a permanent love."


When I look into the eyes of our sons, I can see they are desperately searching for a place to belong. A place to be loved and feel safe and to be a child - without the adult worries of food, home and health. They don't belong in an orphanage - they belong in a family (not only with a mom and dad and 2 sisters, but also with grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins!).

I know there will be struggles - struggles with language, and grief, and anger and rebellion - and possibly even racism. Struggles adapting to our family and our lifestyle. But in the end (and in the beginning) all of the struggles will be worth it and our family will be more complete as a result. I can't wait to wrap my arms around these 2 little boys and welcome them into our family permanently. October will be here before we know it and until then, we continue busily preparing our hearts and our home for them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

We did not pass court today ...

Such disheartening news we just received from Duni, our family coordinator. I know that she is just as saddened by this news because she was so completely invested in this herself. We got a short note from her saying that our case could not be heard today - and so now we are delayed until the courts re-open. Our court date is now scheduled for October 8.

There are many thoughts swirling through my head at the moment - and lots of logistics to take care of. Our 7 year old was registered for school - so I need to let the school and his teacher know about the delays. I believe our Home Study expires in September, so that will need to be updated. I'm so sad that our little boys have to wait longer for us to arrive - but I do know that things will all work themselves out in the end. Our agency, and Duni, did the best they could do for us, and I know that it is out of our hands - there was nothing more that could be done.

Thank you family and dear friends in our Yahoo Group for your prayers and unbelievable support. It means so much to us. Now we turn our focus to October when we will have a very large contingent of AWAA families appearing in court and getting ready for travel.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Getting back in the river ...

After receiving the email about our court delay, I told Duni I felt really defeated and down. Things just don't always make sense and it's difficult to bear up under the constant ups and downs - especially in a situation that affects our children. She sent this note back ...

Karen - I’m telling myself 7 is a Holy number and now I am holding on to 2 Kings 5:12. Naman was healed at the 7th time and not at the 5th or 6th. He just had to believe and get back into the river the 7th time. I encourage you to hang on to that word until Friday. ~Duni

So with that in mind ... I'm getting back in the river! Looking to Friday with a renewed sense of faith and hope!



Delayed Again ... Aug 8

Dear Friends and Family - Please continue praying for a successful court date so we can bring our sons home. We just received news from Duni that our court date has been delayed until Friday. Yes - it's true that the courts close on Thursday for 2 months, but evidently there is still some wrap-up work being done and so our case will be reviewed then. Such sad news today but we will continue to hope and pray for Friday. If we don't make it through on Friday, it seems as though we will be delayed until October. Here is the email we received a short time ago ... Your continued prayers are very appreciated!!!!

Dear Families,

Although the judge gave us an appointment for today she was not available. Another judge said she will look at your case on Friday. So back again on Friday. This will be the 7th time we are appearing before the judge for the same case. If they don’t approve your adoption on Friday then it will have to be October 8th.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Court Date - August 6!

I was able to verify with Duni - our court date is August 6, Wednesday, one day before the courts close for 2 months!!  Please pray for the 4 families with court dates!
 
Today we also got an update and photos of our boys from Rachel at the Transition Home.  The boys are healthy and continue to ask about us multiple times a day.  Rachel said that our 7 year old carries around the family photo albums we sent them.  If we have a successful court date, I will finally be able to post pictures of our sons!  I'll keep everyone posted and hope to have wonderful news to share!  Then the frantic packing for a trip to Africa will begin in earnest!