Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Very Important Weekend

Most of you adoption blog readers will know of this retreat I'm about to mention- but if you haven't heard of it (and are interested in adoption/fostering) then LISTEN UP!

Last year I was blessed to go to the Created for Care Retreat in Atlanta- and this year they are doing it again (same place- Lake Lanier, GA) January 27-29th, 2012. The second year will be BIGGER and there will be even more breakout sessions/ topics that you won't want to miss if you can help it! This retreat is carefully planned and beautifully executed. The speakers share their stories and show how the Lord has provided and met the needs for their families when they step out in faith. I wrote about 30 pages of notes in my notebook that weekend!

A group of AGCI mamas

I have seen so much come out of this retreat last year. Friendships that extended beyond "blog world"- information that seeped through and encouraged and empowered women to do more and dream bigger- families saying "yes" in new adventures that the Lord was leading them to.... it could go on.

If you are on the fence about going, doubting the value of the trip (it is $165 for registration and you can spit a hotel room with up to 4-5 people)- ask me or anyone else who went- it is worth it! Also, last year when we lived in Raleigh, I posted here about wanting to carpool down to it, and a few emails later we had a van full of ladies from different agencies with different stories headed south. I looked forward to the drive as much as the retreat.

So in short, SIGN UP! And you don't have long to think about it. Registration starts September 1. Last year it filled up in one day! So ask your hubby, beg your family for an early Christmas present if you need it, and have your computer ready to register. You can worry about driving arrangements and rooming situations later. :)

Unfortunately I won't be able to go this year but I am counting on all of you attendees to give me a full report with notes and stories, ok??

Monday, August 29, 2011

For All You Mamas-To-Be

I saw this on facebook and had to pass along (thanks Alicia!)...

B@bies R U$ is having a special deal this week where if you buy a changing table & dresser you get a free crib! Check out the deal here.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Second Homestudy Visit

Today we went to Birmingham for our second visit with our social worker for our homestudy. This time Will & I did our separate interviews for the home study where we talked about our childhood, family, and personal life. We joked that we are becoming professionals at talking about ourselves!

We have one more homestudy visit next week and then we SHOULD be all-clear for a referral. I wrote here about how our case manager said that once our report is written (pending background checks and physicals) and AGCI approves it, we are all-clear to stay on track for a referral. Which may be soon. Yay!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does Paperwork Make Me Crazy? Or was I this way before?

All of this running around and calling people has made me a little crazy. I'm attributing it to the move, the paperwork, and the $$ signs floating in our head (as in, look how fast it disappears!). Even I am driving myself crazy. Because I know that leaving several voicemails, then just showing up at an office for an answer to a silly homestudy question is not "normal" for me, righhht?

But that is what happens when you are SOO CLOSE to seeing your baby's face yet your fate lies in the hands of another person (or fingerprint agencies, insurance company, and the timeliness of a pay stub for proof of employment).

So I'm motivated, scatterbrained, and feisty. Watch out! I will call my case manager on you!


In other news, we are doing another fundraiser. We're partnering with Ordinary Hero through their shop. If you check "McGee, Rebekah & Will" as the affiliate we get 40% of the profits from your purchase. AND the stuff is adorable and super comfy. I wear my OH shirt quite often. Check the website here.

For other fundraising adventures, we're thinking about doing a blog auction. Like, post stuff on here and people bid on them. You see, we were fully prepared to handle as much of this adoption stuff as we could (the Lord has been very faithful to provide and we know He will continue to do so)... but a surprise home study (we weren't expecting to move in the midst of this process) and pending referral & travel fees make us a little nervous about the timing of it all coming together. So anything you would like to contribute to an online blog auction would be amazing and generous and wonderful. And I will mail you a personal copy of our cute baby's face when we have a picture, deal?

If you're interested in partnering with us in that effort, contact me at yestoadoption@gmail.com

THANKS SO MUCH!!! So so so appreciative of you friends for standing by us amidst this craziness. God is so faithful!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nursery Beginnings....

As previously mentioned, we have started on our nursery! We painted it pretty soon after moving in because we were determined to get rid of all the peach paint on every wall :) We had some leftover blue paint from our dining room so it was kind of a default choice to use blue in the nursery. The bedding I have made so far is gender neutral (blue + green + yellow + orange) so I am not worried about having blue walls if we end up with a girl. 

So, one day when I wanted to unpack something more fun than dishes or clothes, I got in our nursery and took all of the crib parts out of the box. Will happened to walk by and I got in trouble- he said that was a daddy job!!! So I ended up playing photographer while he assembled it for me. I love it!

Here are some more pictures of stuff in the nursery!
Crib, car seat, high chair, box of toys!

We have a lot of stuff already thanks to so many precious friends and family. Next week I hope to paint that dresser (green or orange!) and this week I'm going to get a bookshelf for the nursery. We also have to hang stuff (bunting flags, world map, etc). I'm not quite done with the crib bedding- as you can see I made the quilt but I still need to do the skirt, curtains, and maybe bumpers :)!

I'll post more pictures soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

It is not official but...

There have been some updates on the AGCI listserve- some court dates and referrals and we are SO SO SO HAPPY for all of these families!

I've mentioned before how families can opt into the listserve with AGCI, and can tell what their official numbers are. There is like an "underground" list that keeps the unofficial numbers (according to referrals, etc).

And according to this list... we are NUMBER TWO for a boy. And we don't know the family in front of us (they are not on the listserve) so we may very well be NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!!!!

Now, we have to make sure our home study stuff is in before we can get a referral but GOOD GRACIOUS we are MOTIVATED!!!!!

Can you tell by the Caps Lock that I AM EXCITED!!?!?!?!?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homestudy Visit

Friday we had our home inspection with our new homestudy agency. We love our new homestudy social worker and are so excited that she is willing to work fast to get our process rolling. We were cleared on our home (no surprise, we knew what she was looking for) and were able to give her most things we needed for our homestudy update.

She said she wasn't ready to send all of our material to AGCI until we are cleared with our physicals and some forms that we still need to get together. Hopefully it can be done soon!!!

Thanks for praying for us- please pray that we are able to have all of this done very quickly so we can move forward with our adoption asap :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

August Official Numbers!

Hi friends! Here are our August numbers.

For a girl, we are:

For a boy, we are:

So we moved three spots on each list this month to make us 15 and 5!!!

Although we are so excited to be in the TOP FIVE for a boy, we are expecting things to slow down for a few reasons.

1. We are updating our homestudy due to a move/ job change- even if we get to number one we may be skipped over until our homestudy documents are updated (this may not take long, but I am prepared that it could take a month or two).

2. It is the "rainy season" in Ethiopia. This happens every fall for about two months. This season means that courts are closed, so families that have not been to court will have to wait until October when court reopens to go or be given a court date. This always causes a backlog, so the next few months will slow down. Add to that, the Ethiopian MOWA department is processing fewer cases than years before, so families are not typically passing court when they go- a specific letter has been delayed for most families so the families have to come home from the first trip and wait until they get court clearances to then be given an embassy date... this means the whole process of the two trips takes longer. So the babies that are already at Hannah's Hope will be there longer than "normal" so it means less children are coming in... does that make sense?

3. Several orphanages closed in Ethiopia, including one that AGCI contracts with. Hannah's Hope, the transition home that our baby will come from, partners with several government orphanages including one that just shut down. These orphanage closures were for many reasons, including the Ethiopian government wanting to find an alternative solution to the orphan problem aside from international adoption.

This will affect Hannah's Hope because 1. They get many children from that orphanage. Although AGCI partners with other orphanages, this may allow for a slow down of children brought into HH. 2. Some families have been referred children that were at one of these now closed orphanages, and their cases will require more time and work- so these children won't come home on a "normal" time frame. (Please pray for these families and children!!!) 3. I'm sure there are many other ways I'm just not educated about!

So please pray for Ethiopia, for the many families caught up in court closure and the orphanages closing. We pray that the Lord would be glorified and He would be the healer of these precious children's hearts as they wait for redemption and a home.

***Updated to Add: My friend Leigh encouraged me that the orphanage closures may not affect referrals at all. "I know it seems like it should but because kids are pulled from all the bethzatha orphanage and go to the main center in Addis then to HH all it means is that more kids will be able to be pulled more quickly from those other orphanages into the Addis care center.  The reason so many kids this last round are from the south is because it seems like bethzatha moves kids in groups so paper work for kids from regions are submitted at the same time.  Like how all those Gambella kids had referrals at the same time then this time there was a group from the south, ect.  Of course, it's very sad that the orphanage closed and those kids were transferred out and they region does need some prayer so that they can sort through their issues so the kids that are stuck can get through.  Just don't want you to be discouraged about that" Thanks Leigh for the information and encouragement!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Exciting News!

Great things are happening!!!!

1. The nursery is painted and the crib is set up! I know this is really early, but after being in the adoption process for a year and a half- I am choosing to view the empty nursery as a beacon of HOPE and not of a lacked blessing. The Lord continues to show His faithfulness in this process and having a nursery to develop is so much fun! Pictures to come soon!

2. Our first home study visit is Friday! Since we moved to a new state, we have to do a whole new home study. We have already sent off our Alabama Child Abuse & Neglect clearances (did that 2 weeks ago) and those may take around 4 months to get back. Bummer. But our home inspection is Friday and we are working hard to get all of the other details in place to have our home study finished very quickly.

3. Waiting Time. So, we were all a bit confused as to how the whole referral process would happen now that we have to update our homestudy. Well, we received a VERY EXCITING email today from our case manager that said that since our NC homestudy is not expired, once our AL homestudy has been drafted (as in- we have passed our home inspection) we can send the draft to AGCI and we can receive a referral before those long awaited background checks come in! Yall, this is a difference in waiting 2 more months or 4 more months. So, although it is still possible that we could work our way to the #1 spot and get skipped over until our home study is done, we don't have to wait forever on background clearances too. Or, this won't "mess" us up at all in our current timeframe. Who knows?! We are choosing to celebrate this small victory. WOO HOOOOOOO!

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