Friday, March 18, 2011

March Official Numbers & Answer to a Question

Aside from the great report from our agency yesterday, we are also celebrating our low March numbers!

This month, for a girl we are officially:

 (War Eagle, # 34 Bo Jackson!)

and for a boy we are officially:


(Welcome baseball season, Go Braves!)

So in total we have moved 50 spots for girls since getting on the waitlist, and 29 spots for boys since getting on the waitlist. WOW!

And the fun thing is we are unofficially lower than that! Yippee! Can't wait to see our APRIL numbers! But I don't want to get ahead of the Lord's timing, either. He is teaching us new things every day of this journey!



A few people have asked us "where we are" with fundraising/money. Honestly, a lot of our local friends are in the paperwork phase of the adoption, so we don't really want to take away from their fundraising right now. Another thing is, we have been blessed with extra time (when we started this process last March, we thought we'd have a baby home by now) so we are doing A LOT of saving and the Lord has given me many opportunities to make money sewing. It has been so encouraging to see the Lord bless our little and make it a lot. Humbling, for sure!

So while we do not have what is needed to pay for the rest of our adoption costs (which will come when we get a referral and then travel twice) we are doing our best to save and make money in addition to our income that goes in our adoption fund. I have also gotten pretty "into" couponing and we are seeing the fruit of that time spent in our budget, and thus, savings! And if we don't have what we need to pay the bills in the end- we will look into no-interest adoption loans and we are CONFIDENT the Lord will provide, as He has done that so far!

BUT if you are interested in supporting us as we save for the approaching referral fees/travel, there are two ways you can help us right now (well, three if you include the donate button- but these two ways I'm about to mention allow you to receive a tangible gift that you can think of our baby when you enjoy them!).

1. Our etsy shop   The name is "Craft 4 Adoption" because that is the purpose of it :) You can also find it on facebook and "like" it!

2. Just Love Coffee. We loooove this coffee. And it is fair trade! People in my office have started buying it regularly and I was told by a coworker that even after we bring home our baby they will still buy it because it is that good! Every item bought from our "shop" online - we get some profit! Woo hoo! Visit our store here: www.justlovecoffee.com/themcgees

THANK YOU for praying with us during this exciting, crazy, humbling journey.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Praise the Lord!

We just received a very encouraging email from our agency (THAT WE LOVE! Seriously if you are on the fence- AGCI is amazing!). I chatted with Will a few minutes after reading it and although we were praising the Lord for answering our prayers, we also praise Him for doing a renewal in our hearts BEFORE hearing this news.

You see, last week I was walking in a fog, grieving the timeline that I thought we should have. This week the Lord has shown me grace in allowing me to see that HE HAS BEEN FAITHFUL this WHOLE time, amidst all ups and downs, and I must choose to be a woman of joy even if I am not happy with my circumstances. This week I've had much deeper peace knowing that God's plan is best! And then we just got this email, and I'm like "Thank you Lord, I don't even deserve this goodness!"

So here is the latest update from our agency:

Ethiopia Program Update

Hello Families,

Happy St. Patricks' Day! We hope this email finds you well and finding rest in God’s peace and plans for your family and your Ethiopia adoption journey!

As you know, over the past week AGCI has been working in collaboration with Joint Council, other licensed Adoption Service Providers in Ethiopia and the US Department of State to get clarity on the proposed changes instigated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that would have drastically reduced the number of adoptions processed by their office.

We have spent the entirety of this week and last connecting with our own Foreign Staff, participating in caucus calls led by Joint Council and the US Department of State, and independently collaborating with other Adoption Service Providers to get clear and accurate information concerning this matter. Your grace and patience has been so appreciated during this time!

What we know as facts are:

MOWA posted a notice indicating as of March 10th they would be reducing the number of adoptions processed through their office to 5 cases a day.

Within days of this announcement, the director of MOWA and several other staff members from the ministry have been terminated.

Today we want to update you on the feedback we received yesterday from our foreign staff in Ethiopia, which was confirmed in a discussion with our adoption colleagues in a Joint Council caucus call later in the day.

At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.

We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia. This plan was acknowledged in the recent posting by the US State Department this morning at http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia.html. We understand the US Department of State cannot issue a formal statement without MOWA issuing a retraction. Based on the information we are receiving, MOWA is concentrating on processing the current adoptions and the new staff is not focused on numbers, but doing their jobs.

AGCI and our trusted colleagues look forward to collaborating to ensure adoptions move forward with the highest level of transparency possible. It is our commitment to carefully, ethically, and mindfully complete the adoption process on every level for orphaned children. Our hope is that as we do this in collaboration with other licensed agencies, we can also help to eliminate future concerns by MOWA and continue to build trust between their office and the adoption community at large.

Despite all this talk and discussion about proposed changes, we want to share with you some highlights from just the past two weeks in our program. Even in the midst of all these proposed changes we have seen things move in positive directions:


7 children were referred to their forever families (wait time for a referral for our most recently placed families was approximately 10 months for an infant boy and for an infant girl)
9 families and children were issued their first official court date
3 families and children were approved at a rescheduled court appointment
1 family and child was approved on their first scheduled court appointment
9 families and 10 children were cleared by the US Embassy and invited to travel to Ethiopia to complete their final immigration visa appointment and bring their children.
2 children have returned home with their forever families.


As you can see from above, our attention over the past week and this week has been not only on gathering information on this issue but also on processing adoptions for many of the children at Hannah’s Hope.

We want to encourage you all and to share that Ethiopia is still an active adoption program! We are so blessed to be looking back at all these wonderful moments and see God’s hand at work in the stories and lives of these children He loves. Thank you for your continued passion and dedication. We look forward to all the wonderful moments yet to come as we continue to serve in Ethiopia!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Passive Adoptions

I am about to let you in on a big secret.

When we started this process last March, I thought to myself that I wouldn't let myself get that emotionally invested, in case this whole adoption thing didn't pan out. I didn't want to be vulnerable or allow myself to be hurt or disappointed.

Let me just tell you, that didn't last.

I think any adoptive parent will testify that there are no passive adoptions. You can't really half-heartedly spend hours of time on education, paperwork, or homestudies, or be willing to spend the thousands of dollars it takes to bring home a baby, if you're not "in it to win it" and in love with the baby you will bring into your family. Sure, we don't know who our baby is yet, but let me tell you - that baby is prayed over and loved.

The reason I bring this up, is because God didn't passively adopt His children. He didn't go through the sacrifice of sending his only son, Jesus, to die on our behalf because he was semi-interested in us, or because He thought it would be a "good thing" to save people from life apart from Him. He adopts His children because He loves them.

Even though this road can be frustrating and very vulnerable at times (imagine notarizing all your private information, making lots of copies of it, and sending it to multiple people), it is worth it. We haven't even met our baby and we know that this journey is worth it.

Recently I was chatting with a friend about the possibly longer wait, and she asked why didn't we just try to get pregnant now. Well, although a pregnancy could always happen (unplanned, that is) we are "all in" for this adoption. Our hearts are set and the Lord has continually affirmed this path for us. We pray for the brown-skinned baby that we hope to bring home.

And one thing that has continually been affirmed in my heart in the last year is that the Lord is so faithful. Even when I doubt and ask how things can come to be, He already has the details set before us. We are choosing to walk forward in faith that no matter what happens next, the Lord will lead us as He has already done.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Latest

Here is what we received from our agency just now:

US Department of State Ethiopia Adoptions Conference Call Update
Good morning families! What a week this has been for all of us! Thank you so much for your commitment to getting the word out about the petition for the children of Ethiopia these past few days! We are hopeful that the voices of these precious children will be heard.

As we had shared in previous communications, there was a conference call that we participated in this morning with the US Department of State to discuss the changes the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWA) announced. Not all Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) were able to join the call due to the number of adoptive parents on the line. According to Joint Council, it was understood that this conference call would be geared towards informing ASPs specifically about these changes and how the US government would react. Unfortunately, the call ended early and several ASPs were not able to address more detailed questions geared towards the ramifications of these changes for the program as a whole. While we admire adoptive families’ desires to be a part of these discussions, we are looking forward to opportunities to connect more exclusively and candidly as a professional network with the US Department of State and Joint Council as they learn about these details in the coming weeks. This will allow us to better communicate with you factual information about how this impacts your family’s adoption more specifically while also being mindful of Ethiopian adoptions as a whole. Again, though, as evidenced by the feedback in this call by the US Department of State, at this time there is little to no information that is being disclosed. Here is what we did learn:

Although this change has been supposedly confirmed to have gone into effect on March 10, 2011, there is no information available on what the process could look like moving forward, what cases it impacts, and if and for how long it will remain in effect.

It was mentioned that cases already registered with the Ethiopian court could possibly experience up to an estimated 12 month delay. It was made very clear by the US Department of State that this was dependent on a number of factors, all of which are yet to be determined, i.e. how many cases are registered, what cases this change will impact, if this change continues to be in effect, etc.

There is a vast amount of rumors going around related to this change, and none of them are able to be confirmed at this point.

The head of MOWA has been terminated, effective next week, for unknown reasons.
We are hearing that there will be meetings between the US Department of State, US Embassy, MOWA, network of ASP Foreign Service Providers, and Ethiopian government offices during the next week. We believe these meetings will begin on Monday, March 14th; however, there is no way to know if there will be concrete solutions that develop.

At this point, we are all still in a waiting stage to see how this change will be implemented. We have greatly appreciated your prayers and understanding as we have all tried to grasp this announcement. As we continue to pursue a better understanding, we encourage you to be wary of rumors that you hear about this change and know that we will continue to keep you up to date on the information we receive. Along with being updated through our office, you can also continue to stay informed by monitoring Joint Council’s website at http://www.jointcouncil.org/.

We continue to do our best in addressing your questions and concerns as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience. Our primary goal remains to facilitate the progress of your adoptions, which continues to show movement on a daily basis. Despite all of this uncertainty, we hope you go into this weekend feeling hopeful and staying focused on preparing your hearts for the road ahead.


The Joint Council also posted notes from the conference call: 

Notes from Dept of State Ethiopia Call


Following are our notes from the Department of State Office of Children’s Issues conference call regarding Ethiopian adoptions.  These notes do not represent nor are they  in any way attributable to the Department of State or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  We are providing the notes with respect to those adoption service providers who could not participate in the conference.
We extend our thanks to the Department of State for conducting the conference call and to US Citizenship and Immigration Services for their participation and contributions.

The Department of State is Actively Involved
•    The Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs announced a reduction in the processing of intercountry adoption cases from 50 per day to 5 per day, effective March 10, 2011.
•    The Department of State is actively involved in discussions with the Government of Ethiopia, other governments and stakeholders.
•    A coalition of countries is preparing a proposal to assist the Ministry increase its capacity.
•    Embassy suggested that children with special need’s cases should not be delayed.
•    The US Embassy officials have a scheduled meeting with the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs for Monday, March 14, 2011.
•    There are areas of concern related to intercountry adoption, however the reduction is disproportionate.

Adoption Cases
•    Currently there are no implementation guidelines for in-process cases.
•    For adoption cases registered with the Ethiopian court, the best estimate is a one-year delay.
•    The staff change at the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has been confirmed as taking effect the week of March 13, 2011.  The impact this will have on adoption cases is not known.
•    It is estimated that between 800-1,000 adoption cases are currently on the docket of Ethiopian courts.

At this point we don't know how this will affect us. Angela just posted here on how she thinks it may play out. We'll see. 

Three Fun Things

Let's get distracted a bit, eh?

1. I won something! Yes, a giveaway at my bff Leigh's blog. She promises she didn't rig it. :) I won a fun plaque from "Like a Mighty River" etsy store. So fun! Also, you can buy some of the plaques on Leigh's blog right now and SHE gets the profit because the etsy seller is so generous! Leigh has a 4 1/2 year old son in Ethiopia right now (and gets to meet him for her court trip in May- yay!).

2. Tonight is the Adoption Concert for our friends, the Coalsons! It is in Raleigh and should be a blast. Check out details here.

3. I updated the etsy shop with some fun Africa burp cloths! Sewing is a stress-reliever, and I sewed a lot this week, haha.

I'll update on the whole Ethiopia situation when we hear news. Thank you for praying and passing along the petition information.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Update

THANK YOU to all of you who have signed the petition. If you haven't, go ahead and do it- it takes about 30 seconds! http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43714.html

Updated to Add: There is also a facebook event that a few of us created yesterday. It is the perfect way to invite all of your "friends" on facebook! The event is called 'Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children'- and you  can easily invite all of your friends on facebook if you do this: 
To invite all your friends to the event (rather than selecting them all)..

-Click 'Select Guests to Invite'
Put this code in the URL and hit enter:
...
javascript:elms=document.getElementById('friends').getElementsByTagName('li');for(var fid in elms){if(typeof elms[fid] === 'object'){fs.click(elms[fid]);}}

It may take a minute to load depending on the size of your friend list. Click Send.
All your friends were just invited!



Here is an update from our agency:

Dear Families,
We know that there has been so much communication from our office regarding this petition! Right now though, we want to THANK YOU for your support and your efforts in sharing about this cause. As of just minutes ago there were just over 16,000 signatures. That is a huge increase from this morning! We believe that, with all of our continued efforts, this will only continue to build momentum as we finish out the week.
There are a couple other things that we wanted to share with you. Mostly this has all come to us by way of posts through the JCICS.

• First of all, the Department of State (DOS) has posted on their website about this proposal by MOWA. As of right now the first step is for the DOS to host a caucus call this Friday. This call will be a great opportunity for all non-government organizations, adoption service providers and other international advocacy organizations to connect and talk about where to go from here. Historically, these calls have been very positive and always showing that there is an incredible united front working on the behalf of the children. We will all be participating in this call and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom for all of these leaders.

• The JCICS continues to be involved with this process and will continue to keep us updated. Below is a recent post from Tom DiFilipo, the Executive Director. He, along with his team, are continuing in the efforts to reach out to MOWA and share their concerns if this plan is to go through. Please be encouraged though—this team is very good at what they do and we will continue to keep you posted on their progress.
Thank you again! We have been blown away by your support and commitment during this time.



Post from Tom DiFilipo, Executive Director of JCICS
Date March 9, 2011
Regarding Ethiopia
Dear Colleagues,
In only 24-hours, over 11,000 concerned individuals have joined our Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children by signing our petition. We extend our thanks to all of our members who have supported this initiative by signing the petition and distributing the campaign information.
Today, we have continued our communication with the Ethiopian Government and respectfully brought the outpouring of concern to them. We believe that there may have been positive developments and will provide further updates as information is confirmed.
Thank you again for your continued support.
Best Wishes,
Tom DiFilipo



(Bekah again:) 
We can't rave enough about AGCI. We are so thankful that we are contracted with them and for the support they give their families.

Also, despite this uncertain time we are once again seeing how faithful God is. Thank you for praying! Several court dates and referrals went out yesterday! God is so good. Will and I were also encouraged last night at our church-wide prayer night for Ash Wednesday. Thanks to those of you who prayed with us and for putting our hearts in perspective. God is sovereign! We are trusting that this is in His plan for our family- whatever the outcome is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Call for Action

Those that are deeply connected to Ethiopian adoptions have heard this rumor already. I'm copying and pasting from the Joint Council for International Children's Services:

Post from Tom DiFilipo, Executive Director of JCICS
Dear Colleagues,
Attached is a statement by Joint Council on the recent announcement by the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs plan to reduce intercountry adoption by 90%. The text of our statement is also included below.
We are also preparing an advocacy, education and awareness campaign which will launch on the morning of Wednesday, March 9th. Details will be provided to you tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th.
We hope you will join us in advocating for the continuation of intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.
Best Wishes,
Tom DiFilipo
March 7, 2011

Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia

Last week the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs announced their intention to reduce intercountry adoptions by 90% beginning March 10, 2011. The Ministry’s plan for a dramatic reduction is apparently based on two primary issues; 1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant and 2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option. Without further announcements by the Government of Ethiopia, it is our understanding that the Ministry’s plan will be initiated this week.
The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process and fails to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption. Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations. Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers and further ensure ethical adoptions.

The Ministry’s plan, which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day, will result not only in systemic and lasting damage to a large sector of social services, but will have an immediate impact on the lives and futures of children. Moving from over 4,000 adoptions per year to less than 500 will result in thousands of children languishing in under-regulated and poorly resourced institutions for years. For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry’s plan will increase their time languishing in institutions for up to 7-years.

Joint Council respectfully urges the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs to reconsider their plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.



HOW YOU CAN HELP!!!!!!!!
Click here to go to their website which I have cut and pasted below:

1) Sign the petition to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi – and pass it on!

2) Have you adopted from Ethiopia? Please send us up to 3 photos and 50 words or less with what you would like the Ministry to know about your child – we’ll compile the information and send a book to the Ministry of Woman’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs. Send your photos and stories to advocate@jointcouncil.org by Sunday, March 12, 2011 to be included. Please note that sending photos and stories gives Joint Council unrestricted right to use the information you provide.

3) Share…Please send this Call to Action to family members, other adoptive parents, and everyone you know! Post, forward and share your adoption stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Make sure you include us in your posts so we can all hear your stories! Here’s links to our pages: Facebook, Twitter and our blog.

4) Stay informed: Get up-to-date information regarding the situation in Ethiopia by signing up to receive information from us: click here to do so, make sure you choose “country and issues specific information” and “Ethiopia.” And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our blog

5) Help ensure our advocacy can continue: Joint Council is a non-profit and receives no government funding. Please join us in ensuring more children live in safe, permanent and loving families. Donate today!


PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! 
As you can imagine this is a huge blow. It is not 100% at this point so please pray with us for the children that could be affected. This is devastating news if this is to come about. We don't even know what this would mean for our adoption process.

Thank you for your support. PLEASE forward this post on, tweet it, facebook it, whatever you can.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Year In

One year ago today, we said yes. We didn't know everything we were saying yes to at that point, but we knew that God was preparing a way for us to adopt a child from Ethiopia, and we didn't want to miss out on the great things the Lord was doing.

On the surface, it is easy to see the blessings & lessons that we said yes to. Care to dive deeper, though?


When we said YES to adoption, we said YES to:

1. Unending Examples of the Lord's Faithfulness. There have been MANY times in this past year where things didn't add up on paper, yet the Lord provided, or we questioned how things were going to fall in place, and we saw the Lord's sovereignty. Who makes $4,000 in yard sales? We did. Even in my heart- I have seen the Lord reassure me of who HE IS and how this adoption is just one tiny aspect of how good He is to us. We have seen the Lord multiply our efforts to make money for this adoption, and bless us in many ways. We have seen specific answers to prayer, and we hope that the way we receive these gifts honors God.

2. Deep Adoption Community. In addition to the growing adoption community at our church, I have followed the journeys of many families through blogs, and also had the opportunity to meet some incredible women at Created for Care. These aren't just invisible friends, these are real friends that I have cried and rejoiced with. And this is only the beginning of our journey! I can think of several adoptive mamas who are now my best friends - I could have missed those friendships if we hadn't had this connection. And the best part? We don't even have our baby yet- so these relationships will become even more important (and new) when we are doing play dates and praying together in that stage of life. Bring it!

3.  Easy Gospel Opportunities. This has to be one of the sweetest perks of adopting. Almost everyone who finds out that we are adopting (and adopting our first child) want to know why. We can easily share the gospel and how we are adopted as sons through the inheritance we have been given in Christ. Because Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice (himself on the cross), our sins have been atoned for and we can be children of God if we believe. Even though we were sinful, didn't deserve to be saved, and had no hope to save ourselves, Christ made the way for us to be heirs in God's kingdom. Similarly, we have the opportunity to give a child a home- to bring home a child that would otherwise have no hope and raise them in a home that will teach the good news of Christ.

4. Trials and Tests that Refine Our Faith. If we said that this year was easy, we'd be lying. People say that when you choose to follow the Lord, Satan gets really angry, and its true. We've had people say some pretty rude things, and there have been times this past year that it seems like nothing is working in our favor. Even on days when it seems like it would have just been easier to get pregnant, we know that God is refining us and giving us the character that comes through perseverance. I have had to learn submission that is NOT easy, but so good, and learn how to trust that God is in control, even when numbers don't add up or it seems like we're never going to get our baby home.


5. Opened Eyes to the Broken and Lonely. While we are not dealing with the healing process of our baby yet, and we don't know what our baby's story will be - we realize that our baby will have had immense loss by the time we meet him/her. And what is worse, there are so many stories of kids that have similar losses that never have the hope that our baby does. There are kids who do grow up without moms, dads, toys, organized sports, education, family vacations, new clothes, doctor visits, etc. There are kids who won't ever hear "I love you" or taught that Jesus loved them enough to die for them. And adopting one healthy baby isn't going to solve that problem. Yes, it is 147 million orphans minus one, but what about the rest? We don't know yet what God will call us to next, or how our adoption process can make a bigger impact on the kingdom of God, than just "minus one." The minus one is a good thing, but what about those other kids? How can I feel like such a hero when there are so many others that need the gospel too? When we started the process one year ago we certainly didn't know that our eyes would be opened to more than just one baby getting a home. Not that we know what that means yet!

6. Being A Part of the Bigger Picture. This may seem like the flip side of #5... Whether it has been encouraging other families to go ahead and adopt/foster now, or this little blog helping others see the gospel through this adoption process, or other families seeing that we (a young seminary family) can adopt (and if God is faithful to us surely he will be faithful again!)- we're a part of something bigger than just one baby getting a home. We would have missed that had we not said yes to adoption.

7. Allowing the Gospel to be A Part of our Daily Life. Not that you have to adopt to do this... but we are able to see that our daily sacrifices (living frugally, saving, etc) are on behalf of an orphan finding hope in Christ. Hi, gospel. We're seeing that we must daily trade in our expectations, control, desires- and receive blessings that are even better than what we were holding tight to in the first place.

8. Adoption Being Natural. Now that we are in the process we are hearing about all sorts of people that are adopting or have adopted. But it is even more fun to hear about family members talking about adopting one day, or to imagine a colorful family portrait and go- yes, that is natural.  For us, it was a natural decision to see the need for adoptive families, have the calling from the Lord, and to move forward. It is amazing to see other families come to the same conclusion about adoption/foster care, and go "this makes sense" to move forward with these processes. I love that when we think ahead 10 years, we imagine more adopted kids and can't even guess at what our Christmas card will look like, because that is natural and right.

And good things to come:
9. The joy/trials of parenthood. Ahh we can't wait! We know we will need much grace as we learn how to be parents, but already I'm overwhelmed by the blessing of being charged with raising our future children to know and love God. Who am I to receive such a gift?

10. Visiting Ethiopia twice. What a blessing to go overseas together, celebrate another culture, and learn about the beautiful country that our child came from.

I could go on. God has been so good. We had no clue that when we said YES to adoption that we would get so many more blessings. So what is God asking you to say YES to?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's Up & Baby Emails

Hey blogfriends, how is it going?

Some people have asked us how things are going, when we'll get our baby, when we can expect a referral, and what is going on with the process... well, we really have nothing to report. We are sitting on the waitlist, and it is nearly impossible to guess the timing of our referral and when we will have our baby home. Our agency gives the estimate of 9-12 months on the waitlist until we can expect a referral, and we got on the waitlist on July 27... so we may get a referral between May and July? Who knows. One certainty is that NOTHING is set in stone with international adoption and that there can be no expectations of timing. Everything, everything is out of our hands. There is nothing left for us to do except for wait. Well, educate ourselves, plan for the baby, and pray a whole lot.

Anyways, want to hear a funny story? Well, last year right after we started the process I decided to sign up for a bunch of baby emails. Like discounts for diapers/formula, coupon websites and other baby sites. Well, there wasn't ever an option for "adopting" so I had to pick a fake due date. At the time the farthest out I could go was October, so I started getting emails about how far along I was in my pregnancy, what to expect with my development, etc. Well now that my fake baby is born, I have gotten 4 cans of free formula (all expiring in 2012, so I should be safe to keep it) and continue to get email updates about what my fake baby should be doing and how I need to take a break and take care of myself, haha. I think it is about time for me to be fake pregnant with fake baby #2 so I can get some more free formula. What do you think? What should my fake due date be this time?? (wink). It's not reallllly cheating the system because our REAL baby, or REAL babies in Ethiopia will get the perks.....

The good thing about having a fake baby is that I recently had two $5 off coupons of Similac formula, and when I was at CVS the other day their soy formula was $5.70 on sale- so I bought two big things of soy formula for less than $2! Score! I'm just starting to get into buying that kind of stuff for the baby (and I think I'm going to use cloth diapers so I'm not really stocking up on diapers unless I'm giving them for baby gifts). And anything that I buy that I won't use I can always donate to Hannah's Hope when we go. Oh, and if you're wondering why I got soy formula- I have picked up from listserve/blogstalking that a lot of Ethiopian babies are lactose intolerant or need soy/sensitive formula. Also, soy formula is very difficult/expensive to get in ET so it is one of the big needs for donations.

So thats our non-update update. We've had a pretty eventful 2011 so far but not much is happening on the adoption front. Thanks so much for praying alongside of us and for sharing in our joy and anticipation.

Love, Bekah
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